Since 2008, July has been designated Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Philadelphia-born Campbell was an author, journalist, teacher and mental health advocate for under-served communities.
In keeping with her mission, this yearly observance draws attention to the challenges that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities have in accessing quality mental healthcare as a result of ongoing discrimination and inequities, as well as cultural practices, expectations and long-standing mental health stigmas within specific groups.
Campbell had personal experience with mental illness in her family, which provided the impetus for her advocacy work. “Once my loved ones accepted the diagnosis, healing began for the entire family, but it took too long,” she said in 2005. “It took years. Can’t we, as a nation, begin to speed up that process? We need a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness.”
In honor of the observance, the ASI Diversity & Inclusion Council asked ASI employees for their personal advice for dealing with stress and anxiety, particularly during ongoing societal tumult and uncertainty.
“As someone who suffers from general anxiety disorder, I use relaxation methods, breathe deeply, practice self-care and rely on a few people to talk to during difficult times.”
“Talk with people. I always feel better after I talk with friends and family about things that are bothering me.”
“When it comes to relationships, don’t put in more effort than you’re receiving. In friendships, focus on quality over quantity. Also, figure out what relaxes you and do it when you need to take a break.”
“There’s no shame in admitting you need help if you’re depressed, anxious or struggling with mental health. Therapy can make a world of difference. Be open to exploring childhood experiences and generational trauma that impacts who you are today.”
“Celebrate small victories. If you’re struggling, just getting out of bed is worth speaking kind words to yourself. Also, stop negative thoughts about yourself in their tracks by saying, ‘That’s not true’ and replacing them with positive affirmation. The more you practice positive thinking, the sooner it will become a habit.”
*If you or a loved one is experiencing stress, anxiety and depression that’s profound and/or long-term, contact a healthcare provider immediately.
ASI’s Employee Assistance Program through Magellan is available 24/7 and offers digital emotional wellness programs, counseling and other life enrichment services that are free of charge and kept completely confidential. For more information, contact the HR department at ASI. (*Note: This service is only available to ASI employees.)
Additionally, these mental health organizations offer general resources: