The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) works year-round to spread hope, combat stigma, and bring us closer to a world where every person has access to affordable, quality mental health care. During Minority Mental Health Month, we are building on these efforts by uplifting individuals of color in our community to share their own mental health journeys and unique ways of finding wellness.
Allison Francis Barksdale, MBA
Peer and DBSA Advocate
As an African American woman living with bipolar disorder, I am often troubled by the distorted images I see portrayed in the media of people with mental health illness. Most often actions are dramatized for greater emotional appeal, often inducing fear. The suggestion of fear keeps people from getting the help they need or helping others. These images are especially harmful to those in minority communities where I still see a preference for denial of the truth.
Peer and DBSA Staff member
I have found that there is a lot of wonderful support for finding wellness in Hispanic communities, like being with family, having neighborhoods that feel like a community, taking time for yourself and your spirituality, and eating good foods, but I have also seen a reluctance to see a doctor or to take a medication for your mental health. Mental health is still seen as less important or less “real” compared to physical health.
For a long time, I had my own stigma around mental illness…before I even knew what it fully was. I was experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression, later diagnosed as Major Depressive disorder. A lot of times I would be accused of being mean or aggressive when really, I was just anxious and overwhelmed. The angry black girl or woman is the narrative that gets thrown around for women of color and thug or super predator for boys and men of color. No one ever stops to ask us: What happened? How are you feeling today? Have you had something to eat? Would you like to talk? The assumption is we are angry we will always be angry or aggressive, so there is no need to think of us as having any other human emotion.
National Latino-focused organization that creates culturally relevant and research-based stories and tools to inspire people to drive healthy changes to policies, systems, and environments for Latino children and families.
Black Mental Health Alliance
To develop, promote and sponsor trusted culturally-relevant educational forums, trainings and referral services that support the health and well-being of Black people and other vulnerable communities.
The National Council of Urban Indian Health
A not-for-profit devoted to the support and development of quality, accessible, and culturally sensitive health care programs for American Indians and Alaska Natives living in urban communities.
Not-for-profit mental health professionals and dedicated volunteers that provide a number of mental health and supportive services to low income, multi-stressed individuals and families.
The AAKOMA Project
The AAKOMA (African American Knowledge Optimized for Mindfully Healthy Adolescents) Project addresses the depression and other mental health needs of African American and youth of color by developing and implementing rigorous, culturally relevant, patient centered, community-engaged research and clinical care.
Committed to providing an affirming therapeutic environment for the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and Intersex) population and beyond that supports the development of a strong professional relationship between clients and their therapists. The safety and strength clients draw from that solid therapeutic relationship allows them to feel more freedom to examine, embrace, and express who they really are.