Did you know July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month(MMHAM)? This year marks the 15th Anniversary of MMHAM. It was created in 2008 by the U.S. House of Representatives to honor the late Bebe Moore Campbell, a Black mental health activist.
The goal of establishing MMHAM is to create a space and time for communities of color to engage in mental health conversations and address the systemic barriers blocking the path to mental health services.
When it comes to suicide, minority communities have the highest rate. In February 2023, the CDC released a report highlighting the increase in suicide rates from 2018 to 2021 among people of color. Over the same time frame, the white population was the only group that saw a decrease. While there is a lot of work being done to prevent suicide, these statistics show us that there needs to be more targeted prevention and intervention efforts for communities of color.
This increase in suicide rates for people of color impacts the construction community, too. Last year, the University of Oregon’s Labor and Research Center (OLRC) released a report highlighting that 31% of all new apprentices in 2020 were BIPOC, an 11% increase since 2011. While enrollment has increased, BIPOC apprentices were less likely to graduate their apprenticeship program than their white peers. In order to reverse this trend and support a diverse workforce, the industry needs to provide mental health and substance abuse prevention training that reflects and resonates with the changing audience.
At the CSPP, we are working with organizations serving people of color entering the construction workforce to understand mental health risks, identify warning signs, and access resources. We are excited about our collaboration with Constructing Hope, a pre-apprenticeship program in Portland. Constructing Hope provides people of color with the training and skills necessary for a successful career in the trades. You can learn more about their impact here. In the coming months, we will be presenting to their cohorts and hope to have them on our podcast!
Find MMHAM Resources
Want resources to support and promote minority mental health this month? Check out our Portland and National Resource Lists. In there, we have a section with identity and culturally specific services.
You can also download the Mental Health America BIPOC Mental Health Month Toolkit for more resources on how individuals and companies can support BIPOC mental health all year.
Lastly, Lines for Life works all year round to support minority communities. You can learn more about that work here.