HRC Observes Black, Indigenous, People of Color Mental Health Month 2020

by HRC Staff

During this awareness month, HRC will elevate the mental health experiences of queer and trans Black, indigenous, people of color.

Post submitted by Jean-Phillipe Regis, associate director, HRC Foundation's All Children - All Families

This July, HRC is proud to join with its partner Mental Health America and other leaders in the mental health field to recognize Black, Indigenous, People of Color Mental Health Month. This is a shift from the previous designation of this month as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, learn more about this change and check out the quote from MHA below. 

"The continued use of “minority or marginalized” sets up BIPOC communities in terms of their quantity instead of their quality and removes their personhood... The word “minority” also emphasizes the power differential between “majority” and “minority” groups and can make BIPOC feel as though “minority” is synonymous with inferiority. Though “minority” and “marginalized” may continue to be used in academic spaces, the words the mental health community uses need to change in order to help communities understand how these terms create and perpetuate negative images and stereotypes of individuals that identify as BIPOC." - Mental Health America 

For these reasons and more, we’re thrilled to join the live BIPOC Mental Health Month Kickoff for a discussion on mental health, the importance of language, and building systemic change. Tune in to HRC’s Facebook page tomorrow, July 1st at 3 pm ET to listen, comment, and ask questions!

During this awareness month, HRC will elevate the mental health experiences of queer and trans Black, Indigenous, people of color. We know that QTBIPOC are too often forced to face both racism and anti-LGBTQ bias, elevating stress and mental health challenges. We must ensure that all BIPOC -- including those of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions -- receive the support and resources needed to truly thrive.

HRC recognizes the particular urgency of having conversations on BIPOC mental health during these unprecedented times. While the history of racial violence in this country is tragically extensive, the hypervisibility of recent events are creating collective trauma experiences that must be addressed by the mental health field through culturally competent and intersectional resources. We also know from HRC’s recent report that QTBIPOC have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: they are more likely to have become unemployed, more likely to have their work hours cut, and are more likely to feel that their personal finances are in worse shape.

These are just a few examples of why we must use BIPOC Mental Health Month as a catalyst to begin having intersectional discussions and sharing resources that recognize the full breadth of an individual’s experiences. And we must continue to work toward dismantling systems of oppression that place QTBIPOC at high risk of compromised mental health.

If you or someone you know are in need of help or assistance, contact The Trevor Project, which runs phone and text chat support lines specifically for LGBTQ youth, or other similar programs committed to providing LGBTQ people with mental health support. You can also take this confidential, online mental health screening test courtesy of our partners at Mental Health America.