African American Leaders Impacting Addiction Medicine and Mental Health

African American Leaders Impacting Addiction Medicine and Mental Health

Today we celebrate Bebe Moore Campbell as part of our ongoing series spotlighting African Americans who have advanced the fields of mental health and addiction medicine. Bebe was a mental health advocate, author, and journalist who worked to shed light on the mental health needs of underrepresented communities. She was the author of three New York Times bestsellers: Brothers and SistersSinging in the Comeback Choir, and What You Owe Me. Bebe’s interest in mental health can be especially felt in her children’s book, Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, which won the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Outstanding Literature Award for 2003.

In addition to her work as a writer, Bebe was a member of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and a founding member of NAMI-Inglewood, which serves as a safe place for Black people to talk about mental health challenges. In 2008, Congress honored her contributions through the creation of Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month designed to bring awareness of mental illness and the unique struggles underrepresented groups continue to face in the United States.

In 2005, she was quoted as saying, “Once my loved ones accepted the diagnosis, healing began for the entire family, but it took too long. It took years. Can’t we, as a nation, begin to speed up that process? We need a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness, especially one targeted toward African Americans…It’s not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible.”

Learn About Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month here.

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