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  • Advocating for Mental Health in the Black Community

    During Black History Month, we want to highlight some of the Black professionals that have been pioneers in the mental health field that many have not heard of.

    Starting off our spotlight is PA native, Bebe Moore Campbell. Born on February 18, 1950, in Philadelphia, Elizabeth Bebe Moore was the only child of Philadelphia native Doris Carter Moore, a social worker, and George Moore, a college graduate from North Carolina.

    Bebe Moore Campbell. Source: Bing Images

    Bebe Moore Campbell. Source: Bing Images

    Campbell grew up to be an author, journalist, teacher, and mental health advocate who worked diligently to shed light on the mental health needs of the Black and other underrepresented communities. In her later work, Campbell examined mental illness from a child’s viewpoint in her illustrated children’s story Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry. This book provided helpful prose for young readers with a family member suffering from bipolar disorder. Stemming from bipolar disorder being an issue in her own family, she would continue the theme on mental health in her next book, 72 Hour Hold.

    “We don’t want to talk about it,” she explained in one of her last interviews to Kenneth Meeks of Black Enterprise, of her involvement in the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), whose Inglewood, California, chapter she co-founded. “I didn’t want to talk about it, either. I went into denial. I was ashamed. I was very stigmatized by this illness that had no business in my family.”

    Finding comfort in dealing with her family’s experiences with mental illness in support groups, her work in founding NAMI-Inglewood in a predominantly Black neighborhood to create a space that was safe for Black people to talk about mental health concerns.

    Bebe Moore Campbell. Source: Bing Images

    Bebe Moore Campbell. Source: Bing Images

    Sadly, she passed away in Los Angeles on November 27, 2006, from brain cancer at the age of 56.

    On June 2, 2008, congress formally recognized July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face regarding mental illness in the US.

    Read more about Bebe Moore Campbell’s life here

    If you would like to speak to someone about better managing your stress and anxiety, or to make an appointment, please call (717) 782-6493 for more information.


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