While Mental Health Day is celebrated in October around the globe, there is a month specifically dedicated to the BIPOC community in the United States. BIPOC Mental Health Month helps spread mental health awareness to folks who are a part of these communities. BIPOC is an acronym for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. While folks from BIPOC communities all face racism, each of these racial groups will face it differently. Hence, BIPOC is an umbrella term that acknowledges that these communities sometimes face similar experiences but may also have different ones as well.
BIPOC folks face various disparities and challenges when it comes to accessing mental health support. These challenges are systemic racism, unconscious biases, stigmas, unfair treatment, inequity and injustice. While racial trauma, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression can be serious issues that folks may go through, these conditions are often underreported due to stigma. BIPOC Mental Health Month sheds light on mental health challenges within BIPOC communities while promoting sensitive approaches to mental health care.
When we think of the significance of this month, we wonder why there is no BIPOC Mental Health Month in Canada? While prioritizing everyone’s mental health should be a year-long effort, having a specific month helps intensify these discussions and bring these initiatives to another level of importance and awareness. Having a month focused on BIPOC mental health helps society to understand how much the BIPOC community requires it. This month is important for BIPOC communities in the US to know that they are being heard and their experiences are all valid. It makes them know that there are resources for them to access to help themselves and their families get help. This month is for them to know that their mental health is a priority and it matters! We should have a BIPOC mental health month in Canada too because our BIPOC mental health also matters.