Bebe Moore Campbell’s 72 Hour Hold tells the true story of an African American mother learning to maneuver the mental health system without family support. Her daughter lives with a serious mental health condition – bipolar disorder. The story reflects the experiences and challenges of so many in the African American community who are impacted by mental illness, including guilt, denial, isolation, and stigma.
July is Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Month, which is a time for building awareness about serious mental health conditions in diverse communities. The awareness month honors Campbell’s legacy as an advocate for individuals and families living with mental health issues.
African Americans are 20% more likely to experience a serious mental health problem than the general population. Mental illness affects not just the individual, but also the family and community. The African American community faces many unique barriers including access to treatment, stigma, and cultural insensitivity in treatment settings. The agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that African Americans and Hispanic Americans use mental health services at one-half the rate of white Americans.
Family, faith, and community can play an important role in providing support to a loved one who is living with a mental illness. One’s family and faith can be a source of strength and reduce isolation. The African American community can learn more about mental illness and find support in NAMI’s free programs for individuals and families.
Treatment and support for individuals or their loved ones is available. Mental illness requires the same diligence in care as any chronic illness, like diabetes. Communities need to support individuals living with mental illness in the same way they support a person with cancer or other serious physical illness. Communities can advocate for an improved mental health system with access to adequate treatment facilities. With effective treatment and strong support systems, recovery and wellness is possible.
Saturday, July 30th, 9am – 12pm
Owings Mills Library
The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc® is sponsoring a book club discussion of 72 Hour Hold on Saturday, July 30th. The event will feature African American panelists, including clinical psychologist Dr. Carter of Black Mental Health Alliance, Dr. Jordan of Community Voices, Terri Collins of the Office of the Public Defender, Tanya Brown of Daddy’s Girls Lifestyle and a NAMI In Our Own Voice presenter. Attendees are encouraged but not required to read 72 Hour Hold. All are welcome to join the discussion and learn about mental illness, treatment, available support systems, the impact of the legal system and so much more.
Roslyn Kelly is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc (AKA). Starting in 2015, NAMI and AKA are partnering to increase mental health awareness in the African American community. AKA chapters work with local NAMI affiliates, including NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore, to educate communities about mental health and recovery.
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