National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month:
Reaching Out to an Increasingly Diverse Nation in July
Recent U.S. Census Bureau projections indicate that minorities will be the majority by the year 2042. For example, more than one of every two people added to the nation's population from July 1, 2007- July 1, 2008 was Hispanic/Latino. NAMI does not currently represent our nation's diversity. Understanding that NAMI's health and growth depends on our ability to reach and attract all communities who need us, our strategic plan calls us to become a more diverse and inclusive organization by welcoming individuals who live with mental illness, young families and supporters from diverse communities.
As NAMI moves forward to becoming a diverse organization at all levels, we can take advantage of existing resources and celebrations to help us successfully engage diverse communities. One of these celebrations takes place the entire month of July, which the House of Representatives proclaimed as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in 2008.
NAMI leaders can raise awareness of mental illness, treatment and recovery in diverse communities during this month by hosting special events and partnering with local multicultural businesses and organizations. Your experience with Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) can help suggest ideas for activities and events to help raise mental health awareness.
No matter what activities or efforts you take on for July, make sure you involve members from your target community in order to ensure that your plans are relevant, responsive to the community's needs and as culturally meaningful as possible.
NAMI's Multicultural Action Center has available resources to help you successfully develop and implement your multicultural efforts, such as our Basic Steps for Successful Multicultural Outreach and a great variety of brochures and fact sheets that specifically focus on mental health issues in diverse communities. You can access these resources online at www.nami.org/multicultural.