This year we mark the over 65 years’ movement to build awareness about mental health concerns of all Americans. The 2014 theme, “Mind Your Health”, draws specific significance for the African American community. Still faced with a number of challenges to minding our mental health, we consider concerns specific to the African American community and what  we need to know in order to be better advocates and stewards of our individual and community mental  health and wellness.

Stigma. Mental health stigma is the fact of being viewed negatively and at times being discriminated against because of one’s mental health diagnosis and/or presentation of notable symptoms.  Mental health stigma in the African American community is nuanced, shaped by gender and socio-economic status. As the community turns the page to mind our health, to do so does at times require changing the narrative. More recently, Brandon Marshall of the Chicago Bears made transparent his diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and was has committed significant funding to raise mental health awareness. Awareness education does decrease stigma with the potential to encourage people to seek the appropriate level of care when needed.

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