NICHQ recognizes July as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month — a month dedicated to awareness, advocacy and support for BIPOC with mental health conditions and the challenges they face to access quality mental health services. By listening to people from systematically minoritized communities and approaching our quality improvement efforts with an equity lens, we can work to improve mental health outcomes for children and their caregivers.
Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 2008 to improve access to mental health treatment and services and enhance public awareness of mental illness among minorities.
This year, the National Alliance of Mental Health is amplifying the message, "You're Not Alone," and focusing on the healing value of connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health, and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay.
Support BIPOC Living with Mental Health Conditions
As public health professionals and care providers, it's important to support BIPOC in achieving their optimal mental health by ensuring equal access to quality mental health services and amplifying the voices of people from historically excluded communities. Looking for more resources? We hope you find these insights, tools and resources to be helpful.
Building Strength & Resiliency in Children
Mental health in childhood involves reaching developmental and emotional milestones, learning healthy social skills, and understanding how to cope when there are problems.
- Primary care clinicians are increasingly identifying children with emotional and behavioral disorders and serve as an important first resource for parents and caregivers. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers a suite of tools as well as a video series for pediatricians. Learn More.
- Stressful events during childhood can have a negative impact across the lifespan. Promoting protective buffers is a vital way for public health professionals, health care providers, families, and policymakers to help more children have a healthy future. Learn more.
- Strong early social and emotional development gives children the building blocks for lifelong mental health. Pediatric care professionals can help children build this foundation by fostering social and emotional development. Learn more.
Mental Health & Sickle Cell Disease
To acknowledge the impact of sickle cell disease (SCD) on patients' mental health and to increase awareness of this rare and painful disease, the Sickle Cell Disease Coalition (SCDC) has created reading lists of recommended literature on SCD in an array of genres for children, young adults, and adults.
NICHQ is partnering with patient advocates and experts in sickle cell disease care to support increased appointment attendance and to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 for people living with SCD.
- Learn more about the initiative, Disseminating Results: Missed Sickle Cell Disease Clinic Appointments and the Health Belief Model
- Access training, Health Literacy & Communication Program: Time to Listen to SCD
Support Caregivers Experiencing Depression
Despite the prevalence of maternal depression, too many mothers and birthing people don’t get the help they need to heal. And when mothers' health suffers, their children's health often suffers, too.
- Black mothers are at a higher risk of experiencing postpartum depression and less likely to receive the care they need. This issue brief shares tips for helping Black mothers and families understand the signs of maternal depression.
- Black mothers are dying from pregnancy-related deaths at over four times the rate of white women. Reducing Black maternal mortality starts with understanding the individual experiences of Black mothers. Learn how listening sessions can reveal significant barriers to care that Black mothers are facing.
- Physicians, public health providers, policymakers, families, and community advocates can take action and drive change to improve mother's mental health. This webinar discusses strategies for improving access to maternal depression screenings and interventions.
- Black babies are at much higher risk of being born preterm or low birth weight due to their mothers increased exposure to toxic stress from institutionalized racism. Targeted interventions and policy efforts, outlined in this case study, can play a significant role in reducing preterm birth rates.
Webinars for Pursuing Equity
Our Health Equity Webinar Series is focused on actionable steps individuals can take to promote change, including:
- Addressing implicit bias
- Learning from programs that successfully moved the needle on health equity
- Applying a racial equity lens to health improvement initiatives
Addressing Black Maternal Mortality Rates Starts with Listening to Black Women
In New York State (NYS), Black women are more than three times as likely to die from pregnancy or giving birth as white women. This disparity has persisted alongside the U.S.’s rising maternal mortality rate, which has doubled in the past 15 years. Recognizing the urgent need for change both within their state and across the nation, NYS launched an initiative to engage women of color in identifying sustainable solutions for improvement.
Supporting the Whole Family: Fathers in Infant Health Outcomes
Cam, a father in Massachusetts, wants to lift the message that supporting the whole family is essential to child development. After becoming a father at 16, Cam connected to some community-based resources but says that more targeted efforts should be made available to fathers. Here, he shares a story that raises issues about fathers’ barriers to support and resources — and the impact of their engagement on child health outcomes.
Promoting Fathers’ Mental Health During Children's Early Childhood
Father involvement has significant benefits for everyone involved. But too often, social expectations about masculinity and structural barriers make it difficult for fathers to get involved, especially during the early years of life.
Four Steps to Address Racism’s Impact on Maternal and Child Health
Racism has been baked into U.S. systems and structures since enslavement, and Black families and other people of color are still suffering its consequences. As health professionals, it’s vital to acknowledge that all forms of racism—institutional, personally mediated and internalized—are real, are present in health systems, and are adversely affecting the health of Black families. One person can’t solve a systemic problem, but there are impactful steps everyone can take to help address it.
Breastfeeding Takes a Village and, Too Often, Black Women Don’t Have One
Breastfeeding peer support networks run for and by Black women fill a gap in breastfeeding support for Black women—a gap largely created by historic and systemic inequities. Here, Khadija Garrison Adams, co-founder of Black Lactation Circle (BLaC) of Central Ohio, shares how their community is empowering black pregnant and nursing mothers to meet their breastfeeding goals.
Preventing Preterm Labor in Underserved Populations
Affecting about 1 in 10 babies born in the United States, preterm birth (i.e., birth before 37 weeks gestation) is a leading cause of infant mortality and a major contributor to long-term disability.
Supporting Children’s Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
While most children may be unlikely to have adverse health effects from the illness, COVID-19’s overall impact on children’s health outcomes will likely be far reaching.
Eliminating the Consequences of Maternal Depression
Experts from the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the Medical University of South Carolina and Postpartum Support Charleston analyze the impact of maternal depression on children and families, and offer strategies health professionals can take to ensure that more mothers are screened and referred to support and resources.