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Prioritize Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in July

Friday, July 07, 2023

July brings awareness of mental health issues and promotes wellness in Oklahoma’s minority communities

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of resources available for individuals with mental health issues within minority communities and start conversations encouraging those in need to seek support and treatment.

“Minority Mental Health Awareness Month shines a light on the mental health struggles in minority communities,” Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges said. “By working with local leaders, we can focus on the specific needs of their communities to eliminate health and human services disparities and to enhance the well-being of all Oklahomans.”

In 2022, more than 20 percent of deaths by suicide occurred in American Indian, Black and Hispanic communities.

Mental illness adversely affects thought processes, relationships, productivity and ability to adapt to change or face adversity. Early identification and treatment can make a profound difference in successfully managing mental illness and inspiring recovery. There are safe, effective and lifesaving tools available to those in need. The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) believes all Oklahomans deserve mental health and addiction services within reach without fear of judgment and shame.

“The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is committed to establishing collaborative relationships and creating a healthier Oklahoma,” ODMHSAS Tribal and Multicultural Liaison Josh DeBartolo, MHR, said. “By working together to focus on the mental health needs of marginalized communities, we can maximize access to mental health and substance abuse services and achieve better health outcomes for all in our state.”

As part of the Minority Mental Health Awareness Month initiative, ODMHSAS will join with minority community leaders to promote the 988 Oklahoma Mental Health Lifeline, a free and confidential service that provides immediate support for those experiencing a mental health need, all starting with a simple call or text.

Throughout July, ODMHSAS and 988 will share mental health resources and information on its website and social media channels.

Promoting mental health awareness and reducing long-held stigmas surrounding mental illness – specifically in minority communities – creates a culture of support and empowerment vital to everyone’s mental health. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, contact the 988 Oklahoma Mental Health Lifeline through call or text at any time to receive free and confidential support.

For more information on Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and available resources, visit

ODMHSAS Communications

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