From Mental Health America National…

An Introduction to Community, Culture, & Connection

“The theme of Mental Health America’s 2023 BIPOC Mental Health Campaign, developed in commemoration of Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, is Culture, Community, & Connection. Our lives are deeply intertwined with the environments around us. Who and what we are surrounded by impacts our mental health and overall wellness. In particular, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) populations are faced with disproportionate amounts of historical trauma and displacement that have challenged how these communities remain sustainable and continue to thrive. Despite countless attempts to take away power, erase histories, and diminish future successes, BIPOC communities continue to prosper. Culture, community, and connection are pillars that support and uplift BIPOC individuals when the dangers of oppression and systemic racism threaten the environments where BIPOC individuals live, work, play, and thrive.

Despite countless attempts to take away power, erase histories, and diminish future successes, BIPOC communities continue to prosper.

Mental Health America

In many ways, BIPOC communities have had to look out for themselves and for each other in order to simply survive the systemic racism that most still face to this day. There have been numerous attempts to erase BIPOC communities through genocide, war, famine, displacement, loss of power, loss of culture, and even loss of language. Despite that, BIPOC communities have been powerful, unyielding, and revolutionary in combating these attempts to diminish their worth and value. In addition, historically, the mental health narrative around BIPOC communities has been defined by disparities, trauma, and oppression – but what could BIPOC stories and lives look like if the narrative was changed? Imagine a narrative that instead uplifted and accepted community-created systems of support as fundamental cornerstones connecting one another and providing a safe haven.

BIPOC communities throughout history have carved out systems of support in order to sustain collective wellbeing. These systems have centered around community and connection, deeply rooted in sustained cultural traditions, language, stories, food, art, and more. Community has been an anchor, allowing connection in a world that is seeking to ostracize and isolate. It is the power of community that has brought forth movements and social change, health and wellness, knowledge, and strength.

The cultures of BIPOC communities are born from the richness of ancestral wisdom, survival practices, and support systems that have not only sustained life but allowed it to thrive and bloom in even the most hostile of environments. BIPOC communities look out for one another and ensure survival, and in cultural hubs, BIPOC communities remind their loved ones of cultural practices that may have otherwise been forgotten.

When we reach out for help, we not only begin to heal ourselves, but we heal our communities. If trauma and displacement have been illnesses, then connection is our medicine. Connection allows us to be known and to know others. We can lean on one another. We can support each other and get support in return. We challenge each other to be better. We challenge each other to keep going.”

To download the full toolkit and read more on how you can help improve the mental health of BIPOC communities through a myriad of ways, click here >>>

THE LEGACY OF BEBE MOORE CAMPBELL: CULTURE, COMMUNITY, AND CONNECTION

Bebe Moore Campbell Photo: Tom Herde/The Boston Globe via Getty

“Each July we honor the legacy of author, advocate, and trailblazer Bebe Moore Campbell by recognizing Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (also known as BIPOC Mental Health Month). Moore Campbell’s ability to tell impactful stories highlighting themes of racism, mental health, and family left a lasting mark on this world and is a foundation for much of the work that continues in support of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) mental health. 

This year, July’s theme is Culture, Community, and Connection. Community engagement, cultural preservation, representation, and advocacy all play major roles in Moore Campbell’s books and her advocacy efforts. By delving into the complexities of cultural identity, community dynamics, and interpersonal connections, Moore Campbell highlighted both the tragedies and the joys that come up in life.

Throughout her work, Moore Campbell did not shy away from the realities of what it meant to live as a Black person in America. Her book, “Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine,” was inspired by the murder of Emmett Till and deemed as one of the most influential books of 1992 by The New York Times. Moore Campbell continued to write of real events that impacted Black and marginalized communities, such as her work in “Brothers and Sisters,” which takes place in Los Angeles following the Rodney King riots. By highlighting these issues, Moore Campbell brought themes of environmental impact, race, and community connections to the forefront of American literature. 

Moore Campbell was no stranger to the impact of environment on community and the need for stronger connections to one’s culture and community members in order to survive and thrive. Her early books drew attention to the harsh realities of racism and the way that this continued trauma can show up in everyday life. Her later books continued with similar themes and included strong ties to mental health, as well as the importance of community bonds, leaning on family and friends, and finding support during an individual’s treatment and recovery journey. Additionally, through her advocacy efforts, Moore Campbell continued to engage with community members, connect individuals to support networks, and create spaces that were truly inclusive for those within them. 

Moore Campbell was no stranger to the impact of environment on community and the need for stronger connections to one’s culture and community members in order to survive and thrive.

Moore Campbell passed away on Nov. 27, 2006, but through her powerful storytelling, advocacy, and strong community roots, fellow advocates continued her fight. At Mental Health America, we honor her unforgettable legacy each July by releasing an outreach toolkit and campaign that gives individuals throughout the country the tools they need to educate themselves and others. Her legacy lives on, providing a powerful foundation for marginalized communities to thrive and be known.”