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Mental Health Monday: July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Brynn Marr Hospital CEO Allison Davenport shares tips on how to break the stigma.
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 8:32 AM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - July marks National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

The month was named after Bebe Moore Campbell, an author and advocate for mental health who helped get the message of mental illness out and make it more acceptable.

CEO of Brynn Marr Hospital Allison Davenport says with everything happening in our country, this month is more relevant than ever.

“Studies suggest that racial minority groups and sexual minority groups experience heightened levels of anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, PTSD and other mental health disorders,” said Davenport.

She says between the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests, this month has been particularly challenging. She says minorities typically have limited access to healthcare, which has created struggles during the pandemic. She also adds the riots happening around the country reflect deep-rooted prejudice which negatively impacts minority groups.

Davenport says this serves as a chance for us to acknowledge these issues and explore ways to help end it.

“We must break down barriers to work with our local, state and national leaders to make sure there is a critical focus on this important issue. We also have to equip our teams and leaders to take on cultural humility,” said Davenport.

Cultural humility is when we recognize there are many things we don't know and may never know, so we must ask questions and try to understand .

“We realize our way is not the only way and we’re more respectful when we approach people and situations differently,” Davenport explained.

She says it starts with intention and making an effort to engage in conversations that encourage understanding. While the stigma may remain, Davenport says people should openly share their stories and struggles to normalize asking for help.

If you need help, Brynn Marr Hospital offers resources online and in person or you can visit NAMI.org.

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