Also known as BIPOC Mental Health Month, this month carries on the famed author’s legacy
By Leah Harris
Bebe Moore Campbell was a journalist, author, and advocate whose work explored history, policy, race, and mental health in America. Her 2005 novel 72 Hour Hold was based on her family’s lived experiences, illuminating the challenges and discrimination families of color face when trying to find quality supports for their loved ones in crisis.
Campbell worked to address stigma and to uplift the mental health of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s mental health and organized with other advocates for a national month dedicated to minority mental health awareness. Following her death, in 2008 Congress recognized Campbell’s work with the establishment of Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
Bebe Moore Campbell’s legacy has flourished, living on in new generations of mental health leaders and activists of color, resulting in a climate of greater awareness and dissemination of information via social media, and heightened recognition of structural racism as a public health issue.
Iden Campbell is an advocate and organizer of an upcoming virtual suicide prevention summit on July 13-14, 2021, purposely set to coincide with Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Awareness Month: Seeking Healing During COVID-19 for the Black and Native American Communities.
“June 27th made my five-year mark of living and thriving after an attempt,” Campbell said. “I’ve wanted this year to be so much not just for me, but for others who have thought about, attempted, self-harmed in other ways, or lost a loved one to know that we are a living breathing community and that events like this should be about us and for us. Not the usual researched-and poked-method.”
The conference will feature “real people and real stories,” he added. “We are more than what this traumatizing world has made us. This year I’m celebrating and growing and shining the spotlight on the two groups that these systems of oppression in America were built to destroy, the Black and Native communities.”
Learn more about the summit below, as well as two other upcoming virtual events this summer that center and elevate BIPOC expertise, wisdom, and experience.
- July 8, 2021: Bebe Moore Campbell Virtual Symposium: State of Mental Health in Communities of Color Virtual Symposium. “The symposium will feature national mental health thought leaders, health experts, and advocates who will discuss and share information on the state of mental health in communities of color.”
- July 13-14, 2021 – Suicide Prevention Virtual Summit: Seeking Healing During COVID-19 for the Black and Native American Communities. “This year’s theme promotes an increase in the attendee’s understanding of the experiences, needs, and wisdom of Black and Indigenous people in relation to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.”
- August 7-8, 2021 – Virtual conference: TRAUMA, TRESSES, & TRUTH: Untangling Our Hair Through Personal Narrative. “A two-day virtual conference examining the politics, policing, and perception of African American and Afro Latina women’s natural hair in American society.”
Resources for further exploration:
- Say Her Name: Honoring Bebe Moore Campbell, Founder of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (Medium)
- Say her name: Don’t erase Bebe Moore Campbell from National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (STAT)
- Bebe Moore Campbell Was the Champion for Mental Health We Need Right Now (Medium)
- Black Mental Wellness Lounge with Brandon J. Johnson, MHS (YouTube)
- BIPOC Mental Health Month (Mental Health America)
- Asian Mental Health Collective
- We Need to Talk about Mental Healthcare for BIWOC (Swaay)
- Mental Health Resources for People of Color and Indigenous People (PsychCentral)
- The Unwind: BIPOC Mental Health Month resources (YahooLife)
- How racial trauma affects your mental health, and tips for coping as we return to ‘normal’ (CNBC)
For mental health support, please check out these resources compiled by Twelve6 Strategies.
Leah Harris is a non-binary, queer, neurodivergent, disabled Jewish writer, facilitator, and organizer working in the service of truth-telling, justice-doing, and liberation. They’ve had work published in the New York Times, CNN, and Pacific Standard. You can learn more about their work at their website and follow them on Instagram.