BENEFITING: NAMI-Northern Virginia
"Without mental health, we can't be healthy. Any part of the body—including the brain—can get sick.
A person’s beliefs, norms, values and language affect how we perceive and experience mental health conditions. Cultural differences can influence whether or not we seek help, what type of help we seek, what coping styles and supports we have and what treatments might work for us. Diverse communities face many barriers such as higher levels of stigma, misinformation about mental health and language that prevent them from receiving care. Even when they are able to access treatment, these communities often receive poorer quality care due to lack of cultural competence, bias and inadequate resources. This results in misdiagnosis, dropping out of treatment and a longer time to achieve recovery. However, when a mental health professional does take into account cultural needs and differences, outcomes can be significantly improved. " - National Alliance on Mental Illness
Mental health has always been a taboo in my Latino family. Just talking about conflict was a foreign concept in my household, so bringing up my emotions was a topic of discussion that wasn't allowed to be touched. What even was mental health growing up, ya know? If you know me now, I am a huge advocate for self care and understanding your emotions.
NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness) is a fantastic organization that does local work in Reston, VA on helping folks combat the stigma that mental health holds in our society. I choose this organization because not only do they focus on promoting mental health in all spaces, but they also do a ton of work that focuses primarily on breaking down barriers for people of color to acknowledge these issues. Culturally and statistically, black and brown people have been more prone to avoid these issues due to religious beliefs, misinformation, language barriers, lack of access, etc. For my birthday this year, I'd like my friends and family to come together to donate money to a cause that will empower our communities of color to start taking care of themselves.
"The brain is a muscle, just like any other one." - Mahdi Ahmed Abdi (Kawthar's Dad)
For More information on NAMI's diversity work, please visit their website: http://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Diverse-Communities