About Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month | NAMI

“Once my loved ones accepted the diagnosis, healing began for the entire family, but it took too long. It took years. Can’t we, as a nation, begin to speed up that process? We need a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness, especially one targeted toward African Americans…It’s not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible.”

– Bebe Moore Campbell, 2005

About Bebe Moore Campbell

Bebe Moore Campbell was a literary trailblazer, who used her words in books including, “The 72-Hour Hold” and “Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry,” to address the profound impact of racism, mental health and the enduring strength of culture, community and connections. However, her impact extended beyond her literary works.

She co-founded NAMI Urban Los Angeles and became a national change agent whose groundbreaking work revolutionized the way we approach mental health in underserved communities. She recognized and understood the detrimental consequences of silence rooted in stigma — one of the reasons for the lack of mental health care and treatment within communities of color.

Campbell fearlessly challenged the status quo, shedding light on the unique struggles faced by people of color and advocating for their voices to be heard. Her firsthand experience underscored the need for safe spaces for people in communities of color to share their stories and experiences without shame or judgement. She advocated for spaces of hope and healing where the unheard and untreated could find inclusive and equitable resources for support and mental health care.

Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

In 2005, inspired by Campbell’s charge to end stigma and provide mental health information, her longtime friend, Linda Wharton-Boyd, suggested dedicating a month to the effort. In November 2006, Campbell lost her battle to cancer. Wharton-Boyd, friends, family and allied advocates reignited their cause, inspired by the passion of an extraordinary woman.

In 2008, July was nationally declared as Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Albert Wynn [D-MD] and cosponsored by a large bipartisan group to achieve two goals:

  • Improve access to mental health treatment and services and promote public awareness of mental illness.
  • Name a month as the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to enhance public awareness of mental illness among underserved communities.

May her legacy live on and inspire you to use your voice, ignite your passion for change and help shape a world where everyone’s mental health matters. Together, we can create a future that embraces diversity, uplifts marginalized communities and listens to every voice.

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text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).