During National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, observed every July, we strive to bring attention to the unique challenges that racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental illness in the United States. It's crucial to understand that mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, shaping our thoughts, feelings, actions, and decision-making processes.
Unfortunately, racial and ethnic minorities often experience poorer mental health outcomes for various reasons. These include limited access to high-quality mental health care services, cultural stigma associated with seeking help for mental health issues, discrimination, and a general lack of awareness about mental well-being.
The Office of Minority Health (OMH), under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is dedicated to promoting Better Mental Health Through Better Understanding among racial and ethnic minority communities. OMH strives to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health care services, information, and resources. To support this mission, OMH has developed several valuable resources for healthcare providers and professionals:
E-Learning Program: Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals
If you want to delve deeper into the theme of Better Health Through Better Understanding, which focuses on enhancing health literacy, providing culturally competent care, and improving access to healthcare information for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP), I encourage you to visit OMH's National Minority Health Month page. There, you can access additional information and resources to support mental health initiatives among minority communities in Arizona and beyond.
To learn more about our Better Health Through Better Understanding initiative, which focuses on improving health literacy, delivering culturally competent care, and enhancing access to health care information for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP), please visit OMH's National Minority Health Month page.
National Minority Health Month is a testament to the caring and proactive spirit fostered by Booker T. Washington, an esteemed educator, author, and civil rights leader. Back in 1915, Washington initiated National Negro Health Week (NNHW) with the aim of raising awareness about the detrimental health disparities endured by African Americans due to challenging living and working conditions. NNHW remained an important observance until 1951 and served as a cornerstone for numerous health-related initiatives we celebrate today.
Recognizing the pressing need to address health inequalities for racial and ethnic minority communities, as well as American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched Healthy People 2010 in 2000. This marked the third phase of the Healthy People framework, with a clear objective of eliminating disparities in health. As a direct response to this call for action, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution in 2002, establishing National Minority Health and Health Disparities Month. This significant designation seeks to promote educational efforts aimed at tackling the current health challenges faced by minority communities and other populations affected by health disparities.