WASHINGTON — July is Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Awareness Month. According to the American Psychiatric Association, only one in three African Americans who need mental health care receive it. Silence the Shame is an organization that wants to help minority groups place more emphasis on their mental health.
The American Psychiatric Association studies the disparities in mental health among racial and cultural lines.
Its studies show that compared with non-Hispanic whites, Black people with any mental illness have lower rates of any mental health service use; and Blacks with psychoses are more likely to be incarcerated than people of other races.
It’s studies like this that prompted Shanti Das to start Silence the Shame.
“It was just never encouraged around the dinner table. We were taught not to share our secrets. Our parents would tell us, 'no one needs to know all of your business.' So just from a cultural perspective, we did not champion seeking help from an outside source.” Das said.
Das believes there is a gap in cultural mental health care. Through her organization, she’s been able to speak with celebrities of all kind and connect their challenges to the everyday person.
“Yeah, we may not all have the same resources, but we're going through a lot of the same stuff.” Das added.
We’re all living through a global pandemic. During that, racial tension across the nation also began to peak. Das says you don’t have suffer alone.
"One thing is to stop and acknowledge your feelings. The second thing is understanding that sometimes it's OK not to be OK.”
She also suggests limiting judgment for those who seek professional help and, when you’re feeling anxious, to recognize we’re spending more time inside our homes than ever before.
“It's been proven that when you get outside and sunshine, it makes you feel better. Or even to exercise, because when you get your endorphins going, it puts you in a better mood.” Das added.
Das also recommends reevaluating our morning routines.
“The last thing that I would say is to, you know, start your day from a place of gratitude. Try to start your mornings with either doing a gratitude list or doing some sort of meditation practice or just a prayer ritual.”
Das also hosts mental wellness and self-care Instagram lives. Silence the Shame hopes to be a world leader in erasing the stigma and educating communities on mental wellness through community conversations, wellness training, compelling content, and outreach programs.