The following article is from Mental Health America’s website.
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 the LGBTQ+ spectrum, refugee and immigrant groups, religous 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 communites.
Through our efforts, we aim to shed light on the multitude of mental health experiences within these communities.
#MyStoryMyWay Campaign (2018)
Why are the topics of mental health and mental illness not regularly talked about in underserved, marginalized and minority communities?
Could it be that mental illness doesn’t occur in these communities and among its varied people?
Of course not. Mental illness can occur in all people and across all communities.
Through MHA’s 2017 Minority Mental Health Month campaign, #NotACharacterFlaw, they asked the question: How does your community talk about mental health or mental illness?
The answer most people came to was clear – people don’t talk about these issues.
However, we believe and know that people do talk about these issues, but they express themselves differently. The phrases and expressions that people use to talk about these issues oftentimes never touch on terms like “mental health” or “mental illness.”
There are many examples that people use to communicate what they are feeling that may be tied to more complex issues, for instance:
The fact is – the way in which individuals talk or don’t talk about mental health and mental illness is influenced directly by the society and culture that a person is a part of. The way we talk about these issues is a learned behavior.
There are so many ways our communities think about mental health and mental illness (often negatively), and we want your help to move past the stereotypical beliefs that are out there, by sharing your story.
That’s why this year MHA is focusing on highlighting and validating the voices and experiences of individuals from across a range of communities through their #MyStoryMyWay campaign.
We want to listen to and learn from you as you help to shed light on the way that diverse communities perceive, narrate, communicate, and address mental health and mental illness.
Join Mental Health America and our partners throughout July for #MinorityMentalHealth Month!
Across social media, individuals will share their stories using #MyStoryMyWay to shed light on the way that diverse communities perceive, narrate, communicate, and address mental health and mental illness.
Throughout the month of July, MHA is asking you to create and share content (a video, 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. They ask that you use these questions as prompts as you develop and share content.
Help us and others understand your lived experience(s) and how we can all do better to address mental health and mental illness in our communities.
- What are the most important parts of your identity?
- What keeps you (or kept you) from talking about your experience?
- If and when you were struggling, how did you know you something wasn’t right?
- How did those around you respond?
- What do you do to take care of yourself?
- What would you tell others who may share your experience?
To allow individuals the freedom to feel comfortable in sharing their stories without disclosing their identity, they welcome anonymous submissions.
If you are interested in sharing content anonymously, feel free to email MHA at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject noted as “MMHM Submission.”
MHA will use your submitted content and develop social media posts without noting your identity.
What information should I share in my post?
Let people know your background so that we can learn about the various experiences and lives of the people that are part of our community.
Feel free to tell them and others as little or as much as you want to share. The 5 questions have been provided to help guide your thoughts. MHA will be pulling from social media throughout the month to highlight different stories.
How do I know if my story is worth sharing?
Each person and each story is important. During #MinorityMentalHealth Month, we want to ensure that the voices of people who are oftentimes deemed as “other” or “not important” are brought into the limelight. Tell us your story so that others who may be struggling know that there are people out there who may share their experience.
What do I need to know if I am going to record a video?
We ask that you keep your video to 2 minutes max. We know that can be hard to do, so think about sharing videos throughout the month by using 1 question per week.
We don’t need professional videos, but we do ask that you shoot your video in landscape mode. Be sure that you are in a quiet place with good lighting, so your voice is clear, and we can see your face.
Hashtags to Use on Social Media:
For more information, resources, and to watch #MyStoryMyWay videos, visit Minority Mental Health Month.