July was named the month of National Minority Mental Health Awareness in 2008. The purpose of this month is to highlight the struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities may face in regards to mental illness treatment and resources.
It is crucial in a workspace to recognize the mental health of your employees to allow your employees to feel heard if they are struggling with there mental health. Facing the stigma around mental health awareness is one of the first steps in allowing people to feel comfortable to talk about what they may feel like they are facing alone. The stigma around mental illness has been around for decades, but by just starting a conversation surrounding mental health may allow someone to feel comfortable enough to talk about their own struggles. If someone just feels comfortable enough to talk about what may be happening in their mental headspace that may make the worlds of a difference for them.
Minorities have been found to not have the same access to resources and treatments as someone who is a non- minority. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has caused even more hardships for everyone to access mental health support especially racial and ethnic minority populations. During the pandemic mental illness reached an all time high because people weren't leaving their house, having social interaction, and fearing the unknowingness surrounding the pandemic. The pandemic also put a halt on many mental health treatments. People weren't able to sit face- to- face with their therapists and many of them turned away from therapy since it was online. Many people became frustrated with their mental health during the pandemic because what they found was working for there mental health treatment they could no longer do, for example, face -to- face therapy, going to the gym, and even just social gatherings were no longer safe during the peak of the pandemic.
The major role of this month is representation. By representing and educating those who may not be aware of the major discrepancies in accessing mental health care- there may be future improvements in this area. When someone who is a part of a racial and ethnic minority community is struggling with their mental health they should have the same access as anyone else to treatment to improve themselves. Mental illness does not discriminate- it may affect anyone. As a business, just recognizing this month as the National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month may make the worlds of a difference for your employees. Acknowledging this month allows employees to feel safe, heard, and aware that your company is there to support them. You may even be teaching those who are not aware about what this month is and what it highlights.