BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Mental Health Month

BIPOC Mental Health Month

Did you know that July is BIPOC Mental Health Month, also known as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month? It may not be surprising if you are unaware of it. This year’s theme is Culture, Community, and Connection.

According to Mental Health America (MHA), Bebe Moore Campbell was an author and advocate focused on racism and mental health. Her daughter was diagnosed with a mental health diagnosis and Moore Campbell struggled with a system that prevented her from getting help.

She founded NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Urban Los Angeles in a predominantly Black neighborhood to create a safe space for BIPOC residents to talk about mental health concerns. Congress formally recognized “Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month” on June 2, 2008 to bring awareness to the unique struggles that under-represented groups face concerning mental health in the U.S. (

Historically, many diverse communities had their language, culture, and history taken away and were forced to conform to the mainstream or dominant culture. This continues today through out-of-home placement of children and youth into the foster care and adoption system.

Many young people are placed in families that are culturally and racially different from their birth cultures and racial identity. Although foster and adoptive families may be loving and caring, these differences can lead to negative outcomes. EVOLVE Family Services acknowledges that interracial and international foster care youth and adoptees experience a profound sense of loss and trauma due to microaggressions, racism, and cultural identity challenges. Compared to children who have not experienced placement:

  • Adoptees are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide.
  • Foster care youth are 2.5 times more likely to attempt suicide.

Lacking the lived experience of the youth in their care, many foster and adoptive parents are not equipped to deal with these mental health challenges. Even when placed in communities similar to their own background, many foster care and adopted young people with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) struggle to receive mental health care due to persistent cultural stigmas. There may be a belief that people shouldn’t talk about mental health issues or that kids will outgrow it.

Ways to help

Being able to ask for and receive help is a sign of strength, not weakness. We can all work to remove the stigma around mental health:

  • The experiences of fostered and adopted youth should be listened to and respected.
  • Caregivers and mentors should encourage healing.
  • Professionals should facilitate self-worth and positive self-identity.

Shared experiences encourage a sense of belonging. To connect foster care and adopted kids with their birth cultures and history, families and peers can celebrate the young people’s cultural traditions, ethnic food, and special holidays.

At EVOLVE Family Services, we offer a variety of ways to educate and support BIPOC and LGBTQ+ families and youth.

  1. UMOJA MN works to keep families connected to community culture and ethnicity that is specific to black children that enter interracial homes through foster care and adoption and assisting the youth to increase positive self identity being a black child.
  2. Bi-annual Black Heritage Camp.
  • Our “Parenting Children in a Diverse Society” class explores what BIPOC and LGBTQ+ children need from parents, siblings, other family members, and the community to have strong self-esteem and self-worth.
  • Post-adoption services connect families and adoptees with resources and mental health workers.
  • EVOLVE Family Services and UMOJA MN has a new program, Black Teens in Action, that gives black teens a space to collectively work together in the community to strengthen their community ties. This program will work towards building relationships within the African American community to create lifelong bonds with established community partners. Each group will meet for three sessions to plan a community enrichment project, and the fourth session will facilitate the activity that the youth created. 

People in crises or in need of support can dial or text 988. For more resources, visit:

·   Racism and Mental Health

·  Black and African American Communities and Mental Health

·   Native and Indigenous Communities and Mental Health

·   Latinx/Hispanic Communities and Mental Health

·   LGBTQ+ Communities and Mental Health

·   Asian American / Pacific Islander Communities and Mental Health

·   Mental Health America Toolkit

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