WASHINGTON, June 28 National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month begins Thursday, July 1, coinciding with the annual convention of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Washington, D.C.
NAMI's Multicultural Action Center and 2010 NAMI Convention are hubs for multicultural concerns, building on the U.S. Surgeon General's landmark report on Mental Health: Culture, Race and Ethnicity.
"Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is a time for education, support and advocacy," said NAMI Executive Director Michael Fitzpatrick. "One in four Americans experience mental health problems in any given year. Diverse communities are no exception."
Minority Mental Health Awareness Month honors Bebe Moore Campbell, one of the leading African American writers of the 20th century, who died in 2006. She was a NAMI national spokesperson, co-founder of NAMI Urban Los Angeles and an instructor in NAMI's Family-to-Family education program.
The Surgeon General has warned that minorities:
-- are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for mental illness
-- have less access to mental health services
-- often receive poorer quality health care
-- are underrepresented in mental health research.
The 2010 NAMI Convention offers symposia and workshops that energize participants for action in home communities:
Friday, July 2
Integrating Mental Health in Primary Care (10:45 a.m.)
People with mental illnesses die on average 25 years earlier than other Americans. For minority communities, shortages of mental health professionals and limited access to quality mental health care make integration of mental health in primary care especially urgent.
Multicultural Mental Health Research (2:00 p.m.)
Research must include cultural competence, disparities and ethnopsychopharmacology.
Taking It to the Streets: Advocacy in Minority Communities (3:45 p.m.)
NAMI reviews Minority Mental Health Awareness Month accomplishments during the past two years and brainstorm new activities.
Saturday, July 3
Spiritual Practice and Recovery (8:45 a.m.)
Spirituality is often a component recovery, including roles for African American congregations, zazen, centering prayer and Native American spirituality.
Approaches to Recovery in Underserved Urban Areas (8:45 a.m.)
Outreach and support to underserved populations in urban areas are critical during today's severe economic hardships, uncertainty and increased needs.
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
SOURCE National Alliance on Mental Illness