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Minority Mental Health Month
July was designated as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in 2008 to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face in regard to mental illness in the United States (US).
While the term ‘minority’ is traditionally associated with racial, ethnic, or cultural minorities within the US, Mental Health America (MHA) is focused on expanding this term to include individuals from a wide-range of marginalized and underserved communities, including those who may identify as part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, refugee and immigrant groups, religious groups, and others who are often overlooked.
By making this term more inclusive, we are broadening our way of thinking and underscoring the need to address mental health issues with a unique lens while integrating the varied needs of diverse communities.
Through our efforts, we aim to shed light on the multitude of mental health experiences within these communities.
#DepthOfMyIdentity Campaign (2019)
Our identities are formed not only by what we believe to be true, but also the views of others around us. In many ways, specific communities (oftentimes referred to as marginalized, people of color, minority) are seen as victims or broken. As a community, they must constantly work towards combating those stereotypes to maintain wellbeing. It is at the intersection of all these nuanced identities where one must constantly confront the biases and stereotypes used by others to define them.
This year, we want to understand how these intersections and struggles impact the mental health of these communities. We want to challenge those perceptions and highlight the depth of one’s identity beyond what is seen or what others believe to be true – and how many thrive despite the mental health challenges thrown their way.
To create the space for conversation around these issues, we ask you to share the depth of your identity and how it relates to your mental health journey. We want to challenge preconceptions and bias in the community and show others that we all thrive. Join our 2019 Minority Mental Health Month campaign by showing us who you see.
How do I get involved with #DepthOfMyIdentity?
Throughout the month of July, we are asking you to share content (a video, pictures, a series of videos, a poem, notes, or even GIFs) responding to the Guiding Questions provided below. These questions were developed to help you think about your experience and your story. We ask that you use these questions as prompts as you develop and share content.
Help us and others understand your lived experience and how we can all do better to address stereotypes, negative preconceptions, and bias to improve our overall mental health.
Guiding Questions #DepthOfMyIdentity:
- What labels would you use to describe yourself?
- How have the perceptions of others impacted you and your mental health?
- What advice would you give to others to protect their wellbeing and overall mental health if they encounter similar challenges?
- Identity and Mental Health in Minority Communities Twitter Chat, July 9 at 2PM ET
- Facebook Live, July 17 at 2PM ET
Mimi Khúc, PhD, is a writer, scholar, and teacher of things unwell. Managing Editor of The Asian American Literary Review and guest editor of Open in Emergency: A Special Issue on Asian American Mental Health, an arts and humanities intervention that works to rethink and decolonize Asian American un/wellness, she oversees the Open in Emergency Initiative, a multi-year national project working with universities and community spaces to think together about the shape and scope of Asian American mental health. She is currently working on a collection of essays on mental health and the university and a manifesto on contingency in the academy, as well as co-writing a work of graphic theory on Asian American daughterhood and suicide.
- Ramya Avadhanam is a South Asian counselor educator who has served as adjunct faculty at multiple universities in the DMV. She earned a double master's in mental health and marriage, couples, and family counseling at The University of Florida in December 2012 and worked as an outpatient therapist, lead family counselor, and family advocate in the time between school. Additionally, she earned her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision at The College of William & Mary in May 2018. She has presented on topics related to her intersectionality such as the grief experience for first generation Indian-American Hindu undergraduate students when a grandparent in their country of origin passes away, influence of internalized stereotypes and intraethnic-othering on Asian-American adult identity development and wellness, deconstructing sexual stereotypes of East and South Asian women, and exploring cultural identity and sexual expression of South Asian-American second-generation immigrants through a developmental lens. She serves in various leadership capacities within the American Counseling Association (ACA) and other national/international counseling organizations that focus on appropriate standardization of grief and/or multicultural competencies and practice. In addition, she is an advocate for the needs of multiracial-ethnic populations as well as Asian American issues within her clinical practice and has been recognized for her efforts through various awards, most recently through being selected as a recipient for the Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ) ‘Ohana Award.
- Neta Vaught is a writer, speaker, creator and mental health advocate. She works to educate, motivate and inspire other to live life intentionally despite current circumstance or past traumas. Neta shares her own story of growing up watching her mother suffer from mental illness and having to experience herself later become diagnosed with mental illness. Despite the odds Neta continues to use her creative gifted mind to shine a light and bring awareness to Mental Illness by teaching others to use Journaling as a tool and allowing people to share their stories in her new short story books Expression Author Your Story anthologies. Neta’s motto is “Free the minds of the people, and the people will heal”. Her goal is to stop stigmas, bring a better support system to the underserved, and allow those in silence to become the authors of their stories.
Reggie Greer is Director of Constituent Engagement at the LGBTQ Victory Institute where he leads efforts to activate, engage, and elevate LGBTQ elected and appointed officials in the United States. Reggie previously served as Deputy Director of Public Engagement at the United States Department of Transportation where he developed strategies for effective communication and engagement with thousands of transportation stakeholders. Appointed by President Barack Obama and Secretary Anthony Foxx in May 2014, Reggie served as the Department’s liaison to the White House Business Council, engaging business leaders across the country on a wide range of transportation-related initiatives, programs, and issues. Reggie began his tenure at the Department as a special assistant to Secretary Foxx. In 2016, Reggie was appointed to serve on Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee, where is currently chair.
Prior to his appointment, Reggie served as a staff assistant for the political team at the Democratic National Committee, a youth organizer for the District of Columbia’s 2013 Commemorative Commission on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, a fellow for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee’s National Day of Service team, and a field organizer for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign in Norfolk, Virginia. Reggie began his career as a government affairs associate for the American Waterways Operators, the national trade association for the U.S. towboat, tugboat, and barge industry.
In 2009, Reggie received his Bachelor of Arts in Government and History from Georgetown University. While attending Georgetown, Reggie was elected speaker of the Georgetown Student Association Senate and was a member of the Philodemic Society, Georgetown’s Foreign Service professional fraternity – Alpha Phi Epsilon, and the Pep Band. A native of Wichita Falls, Texas, Reggie currently resides in Washington, DC.
- Self-Care While ___: Minority Mental Health Twitter Chat, July 25 at 2PM ET
To allow individuals the freedom to feel comfortable in sharing their stories without disclosing their identity, we welcome anonymous submissions. If you are interested in sharing content anonymously, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject noted as “MMHM Submission.”
We will use your submitted content and develop social media posts without noting your identity.
This effort is supported by educational funding from