Formally recognized in June 2008, POC Mental Health Awareness Month was created to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented and marginalized communities face regarding mental illness in the United States. We take this opportunity to lift up learning and resources, especially for POC leaders in the equity movement.
Join us in a Week of Actions to examine the mental health space and consider how it intersects kids and communities.
Day 1: Learn about the unique mental health struggles of POC kids & communities
One major area of concern getting more attention over the past few years is the scarcity of mental health resources in schools.
- According to a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, millions of children across the U.S. are experiencing depression, anxiety and/or behavioral disorders.
- In the same study, it was found that children from low income, Latinx and Black families are less likely to be diagnosed and treated based on limited access to care. In addition, biases related to diagnosis of behavioral conduct problems are most prevalent with Black students.
- According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive, of the 6.1% of the U.S. population that identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander, nearly 15% reported having a mental illness in the past year.
- A study conducted by The Trevor Project in 2019 found that 39% of LGBTQ youth “seriously considered attempting suicide [...] with more than half of transgender and non-binary youth having seriously considered”.
- In 2017, the American Psychiatric Association’s report “Mental Health Disparities: Diverse Populations”, found that Native and Indigenous Americans report higher rates of posttraumatic stress disorder and alcohol dependence than any other ethic/racial group.
What do these numbers make you think? How do you feel? Consider how you can ensure that POC in your own communities can be best supported.
Day 2: Check out these POC-led meditations
Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness – to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. The goal of meditation is to tune our minds away from the clutter of thought that frequently occupies our mind and develop a deeper awareness of ourselves as well as everyone around us.
- Liberate Meditation is a Black-founded meditation app that supports the BIPOC community on their path to finding inner peace. Created by Afro-Latino Julio Rivera the app features talks & meditations on topics such as mindfulness, microaggressions, self-worth, and more.
- Black Zen is designed to “remove any and all social and financial barriers that restrict Black and Brown communities from discovering the benefits of meditation, and to make all communities feel included and seen in the wellness space.”
Day 3: Follow these POC-friendly mental health social media accounts
There are countless social media accounts led by POC that inspire, support, educate, and empower POC communities in their mental health journeys. Below are a few - organized by identities - that you can start following today!
For Black communities:
For Latinx communities:
For Indigenous communities:
For Asian American & Pacific Islander communities:
For LGBTQIA+ communities:
Day 4: Check out these resources on racism, mental health, and racial trauma
Mental Health America has developed and gathered content for their BIPOC Mental Health Month Toolkit, including lists of resources specifically for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, useful handouts on racism and mental health and racial trauma, data on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ mental health, and much more!
Day 5: Research your community’s mental health supports
What are the programs or mental health initiatives that are currently present in your school, workplace, organization, and communities? How are people and kids who identify as POC in your community supported in their mental health struggles?
It can seem daunting trying to figure out the answers to these questions, but it’s important to start the conversation right where you are so that you are better equipped to understand the needs of your community. Your LEE contact can also guide you in this work, connecting you to resources such as the Root Cause Analysis.
Day 6: Read through these Affirmations for Equity Leaders
The work of equity leadership is not easy, and some days, you may need a little extra motivation to continue making waves in your community. LEE staff has put together a list of “mantras,” or inspirational phrases, for equity leaders like you.
Read through them, download them as your *new* desktop or phone wallpaper, and let them add fuel to your fire.
Day 7: Check out these POC mental health resources & tools
It can be overwhelming trying to find where to turn to for additional and more comprehensive resources, tools, and supports. Below you will find a few places that can help equip you to support those in your community.
Mental health matters. The more we know and understand about how it affects the different people in our lives, the better we will be at creating a positive and supportive environment for those around us.
Do you have other resources to share? Tweet @LEE_National to share ideas.
Leaders like you are needed to make a lasting, positive change in communities.
Leadership for Educational Equity staff is devoted to supporting members as they grow and implement their visions for equity. No question is too large or too small. You can always reach out to your LEE contact to get started.