Bebe Moore Campbell
Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

June 30, 2017

A special thanks to California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) for the opportunity to fund Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Awareness Month events around the state that are spreading education and awareness among diverse communities. In the month of June, affiliates across the state conducted  events in their communities.  

In honor of the NAMI CA affiliate efforts, we will be providing you all weekly updates on events being put together by them. You will also have an opportunity to read about the personal stories of recovery and hope by fellow community members across the state. As we kick off Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, NAMI California would like to invite you to learn about the brave and passionate person who inspired the start of this special month-Ms. Bebe Moore Campbell.  
History of Bebe Moore Campbell

Elizabeth Bebe Moore Campbell was born on February 18, 1950 in Philadelphia. At a young age she discovered a tremendous love for reading and writing. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and began to teach at elementary schools in the 1970s.

Early in her writing career, Bebe Moore began to send out short stories and poetry to magazines but received rejection letter after rejection letter. However, she did not give up and took various workshops to strengthen her skills. She began to "establish herself as a writer who specialized in social issues, appearing in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Essence, Ebony and Enterprise. " Ms. Campbell's perceptive writing led to a career as a regular commentator for National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and frequent guest appearances on ABC's "Nightline," CNN programs and other radio and television talk shows."

Ms. Campbell started to write about mental illness after learning that a family member was struggling with a mental illness. By seeing the struggles her African community experienced and the stigma associated with getting treatment, she started to write regarding mental illness. In 2003, she released  "Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry," a children's book about a little girl coping with her mother living with mental illness, and a 2005 novel, "72 Hour Hold," about a mother struggling to help her 18-year-old daughter who suffers from a bipolar disorder. Through the use of her writing, Ms. Campbell began advocating and  worked hard to eliminate the stigma of mental illness and further educate communities about mental illness.
As a National spokesperson, Ms. Campbell exclaimed:

"Once my loved one accepted the diagnosis, healing began for the entire family, but it took too long. It took years. Can't we, as a nation, begin to speed up that process? We need a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness, especially one targeted
Bebe Moore Campbell
toward African Americans. The message must go on billboards and in radio and TV public service announcements. It must be preached from pulpits and discussed in community forums. It's not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible".

In order to further her mission, she became one of the founding members of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Urban Los Angeles chapter. Through her work with NAMI Urban Los Angeles, Ms. Campbell sought to educate communities of color to support mental wellness, through effective and timely treatment options, access to quality mental health services, and community outreach. Today, her work continues to inspire people all over the nation and empower communities. 

In May 2008, the US House of Representatives proclaimed July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD) and co-sponsored by large bipartisan group, was passed in recognition that:
  • Improved access to mental health treatment and services and public awareness of mental illness are of paramount importance
  • An appropriate month should be recognized as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to enhance public awareness of mental illness and mental illness among minorities.
Affiliate Spotlight


Today, NAMI affiliates across the nation prepare for the month of July to honor the work of Bebe Moore Campbell and continue the work that is needed in underserved communities. This past June NAMI California was able to provide affiliates the opportunity to coordinate an activity in honor of Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. A group of affiliates applied for a mini-grant to host an activity in the month of June to enhance public awareness of mental illness in underrepresented communities. The information below is the first to be released in the newly Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Awareness newsletter series where Minority Mental Health Awareness Grantee Affiliates are highlighted every week during the month of July for engaging underserved communities. 

NAMI Urban LA like other NAMI chapters works to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness through its educational programs, its support groups and its advocacy for mental health services, particularly for communities of color.  

In preparation for Minority Mental Health Awareness month, NAMI Urban Los Angeles on Monday, June 19, 2017 conducted a Community Forum. The event featured two of the founding and longtime Board members of NAMI Urban Los Angeles, Benita Council and Lynn Goodloe, and a long time Board member, Ann Shough. The three presenters shared their experience, strength and hope with the audience regarding their quest for information regarding mental illnesses/biological brain disorders and the effects upon their loved ones and their families.   They also responded to items on the NAMI Urban LA Fact Sheet regarding general mental health statistics and specific statistics related to the affiliate and its work in communities of color.  Finally, they responded to questions from the audience. During the 90 minute presentation, they were praised for their honesty and transparency and one of the suggestions was to 'take the presentation on the road! 
Stay Tuned...

During the month of July NAMI California will continue to highlight NAMI affiliates and individuals in the state of California creating an impact in their communities.

For more information, follow the links below:

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