Self-Compassion Teen and Parent Wellbeing

Minority Mental Health Month

By: Meghaa Ravichandran

Photo by Christian Bowen on

With COVID-19 forcing many into an initial quarantine, the ripple effects of our physical and social isolation can be felt across all aspects of people’s lives. Although the return of a semblance of normality has begun to surface, advocacy for mental health also remains important as we find our footing in this new normal. July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and with the continuity of the pandemic, it is crucial to address both the effects of COVID-19 along with generational trauma, racism, exclusion, and more. 

A nationally celebrated holiday, there are many resources to access regarding  uplifting minority populations and their mental health advocacy efforts. To start with the history of the month, it was formally recognized in June 2008 with the full title being Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Bebe Moore Campbell was an American “author, journalist, teacher, and mental health advocate who worked tirelessly to shed light on the mental health needs of the black community and other underrepresented communities” (MHA). Witnessing the struggles caused by mental illness and a lack of supportive resources, she founded NAMI-Inglewood and went on to write three New York Times bestsellers. 

Photo of Bebe Moore Campbell: Source

To begin our advocacy journey this month, the most important step is to stay informed and educated regarding the populations we are uplifting. Around 42% of the U.S. population are people of color, with multiracial communities being most likely to experience alcohol/substance use disorders, anxiety, and depression according to a 2020 Mental Health America (MHA) screening. Indigenous people were most likely to screen positive for bipolar disorder and PTSD. 

In a report summarizing their screening results,  many key conclusions were drawn, factoring in events such as the COVID-19 pandemic: “Since the end of May 2020, nearly every racial/ethnic group has been experiencing consistently higher rates of suicidal ideation than the 2019 average” (MHA 2020). Additionally, healthcare disparities are a barrier to access mental health resources, so it’s important now more than ever to do our part as an upstander. 

The 2022 theme for July is “Beyond the Numbers”, aiming to highlight the importance of each individual’s story in their fight against mental illness. Rather than grouping a person’s experience into statistics, Mental Health America desires to uplift the people behind the numbers to remind us that everyone’s resilience should be celebrated and acknowledged. In the face of trauma, abuse, and oppression, minority communities continue to thrive and break apart from generational curses. 

Post-Traumatic Stress

PTSD Awareness Month

By: Sania Khanzode

June is National PTSD Awareness Month! PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is linked to trauma and stress and impacts approximately 7% of the population. In honor of PTSD Awareness Month, let’s take a closer look at what PTSD really is.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.” Experiencing fear after a traumatic event is normal as most people will experience symptoms post-trauma. However, for most, recovery follows shortly. Those who continue to exhibit symptoms of stress are diagnosed with PTSD.

What causes PTSD? Trauma is a broad term, so let’s look into some examples that have been shown to cause PTSD.

The NHS outlines the following:

  • Serious accidents
  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Abuse, including childhood or domestic abuse
  • Exposure to traumatic events at work, including remote exposure
  • Serious health problems, such as being admitted to intensive care
  • Childbirth experiences, such as losing a baby
  • The death of someone close to you
  • War and conflict
  • Torture

Though these are not the only causes, they are the most common ones. Researchers are still unclear as to why PTSD develops in some victims of trauma and not others. Research has suggested that a smaller hippocampus could, in part, create susceptibility for PTSD. 

What does PTSD look like? PTSD has many symptoms, split into four categories:

  1. Re-experiencing: Flashbacks, recurring dreams about the event, etc.
  2. Avoidance: Avoiding reminders, thoughts, and feelings of the event
  3. Arousal and Reactivity: Being “on edge”, tense, difficulty concentrating, etc.
  4. Cognition and Mood: Cognitive distortions about the event, loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed, continuous negative emotions

The NIMH tells us, “To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have… At least one re-experiencing symptom, At least one avoidance symptom, At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms, [and] At least two cognition and mood symptoms.” 

Though PTSD is incredibly difficult to deal with, it can be treated! Let’s talk about some treatments for PTSD: the two main ones are psychotherapy and medication.

Psychotherapy is done by a mental health professional and helps people with PTSD by allowing them to identify their triggers and manage their symptoms. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most common type of psychotherapy used to treat PTSD.

The medications that are most commonly used to treat PTSD are known as SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). SSRIs aid in treating the symptoms of PTSD and are often prescribed alongside psychotherapy. 

It is important that we are educated about PTSD and how it can impact those who suffer from it. It is also important that we support those who may be suffering from PTSD. If you know someone that suffers from PSTD, you can help by supporting them, encouraging them, and just listening to them. Being aware of PTSD and what it entails is the first step. 

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