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As we celebrate black history month, we are excited to highlight some of the black mental health pioneers.
Black Pioneers in Mental Health - Bebe Moore Campbell.
A tireless advocate for black and minority mental health, Bebe Moore Campbell was an accomplished author, teacher, and journalist whose personal struggles with her daughter’s mental illness informed her passion for advocacy. After witnessing firsthand the problems her daughter faced when battling her mental illness as a black woman in the United States, Campbell sought to reform the system. She was particularly concerned with systemic changes related to minority mental health support. Her efforts led to her founding NAMI-Inglewood (now known as NAMI Urban LA), a branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness that sought to establish a safe space for black people to discuss mental health issues in a predominantly black neighborhood.
During her career, Campbell wrote for multiple publications and organizations about the stigma surrounding mental health and the importance of awareness and support for minority communities. Her advocacy and passion eventually led to national recognition, with the US House of Representatives designating the month of July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, which is now popularly known as BIPOC Mental Health Month.
In addition to this recognition, her legacy, contributions, and presence are still felt in the LA community that she worked so hard to support throughout her life, where NAMI Urban LA still operates and serves the community.
Learn more about Bebe Moore Campbell here: https://mhanational.org/bebemoorecampbell
Black Pioneers in Mental Health - Kitch Childs, Ph.D.
E Kitch Childs was a pioneer in more ways than one. She was a trailblazer in the world of mental health as a black woman, but she also was an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and an icon of modern feminism, having centered research around black women and feminism in the US. In addition to founding the Association for Women in Psychology, she owned a private practice and offered discounted or even free therapy to members of the LGBTQ+ community who were affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis and other marginalized members of her community. She was also a co-founder of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Front and a leading practitioner of feminist therapy. Her research focused on black women, their access to therapy, and issues of trust and racial justice in psychology. Her works and ideas influenced a generation of female therapists and continue to have a profound impact on the world of mental health today.