In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives proclaimed July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (NMMHAM). Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and veterans disability appeals representation, is offering free poster downloads to promote the observance, which highlights the need for improved access to mental health services among minorities.
The stigma associated with mental illness is often a barrier to treatment. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), levels of stigma associated with mental health conditions are much higher in multicultural communities. “Stigma affects everyone,” said NAMI board member Clarence Jordan. “But stigma has a greater impact in communities of color.”
Jordan added that NMMHAM helps start conversations about mental illness within diverse communities. “There is still a great lack of awareness of what mental illnesses are and what one can do to recover,” said Jordan. “It [NMMHAM] takes it to churches, hits the airwaves; there are articles in the paper that people will read.”
Mental illness is a leading cause of disability in the U.S., and medical documentation from mental health professionals is essential when applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and SSDI. The Social Security Administration administers both programs.
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