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Minority Mental Health Month

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This important awareness month was first official recognized as Bebe Moore CampbellNational Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in 2008 after the US House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution. The goal of National Minority Health Awareness Month is to improve access to mental health treatment and services with a particular focus on increasing support provided to racial and ethnic minority communities. 


Despite continued advancements in healthcare and health equity in our nation, disparities in mental healthcare persist, especially among Black Americans. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that racial and ethnic minority communities in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use emergency departments, and more likely to receive lower quality care. These persistent challenges to mental healthcare access and quality contribute to poor mental health outcomes, including suicide, among racial and ethnic minority communities.


For Black Americans, the constant trauma that we have endured as the result of transatlantic enslavement, white supremacy and anti-Blackness have a direct connection to the mental health challenges that exist in our community including increased rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. As I write this message I am also supporting the planning for a homegoing service of a former fellow, a colleague in the work of ensuring intersectional social justice who recently committed suicide. Beyond the private struggles that we all endure attempting to survive being Black in America, incessant reminders of the disregard for Black life takes a toll on our mental health. This is confirmed by the recent Lancet report describing how police killings of unarmed Black Americans contribute to poorer mental health among Black Americans.


NBJC is committed to increasing access to quality mental health services and supports for Black people. We are proud of our partnership with the First Lady of New York Chirlane McCray and the Brothers Thrive Initiative. Complimenting Sisters Thrive, Brothers Thrive focuses on increasing mental health among Black men. A central part of our work is removing the stigma and shame shrouding mental health. You can lean more about the Initiative by viewing this video . In addition, throughout the month of July NBJC will engage in conversations with partners like the NAACP and Jack and Jill of America to highlight resources and best practices for increasing mental health among Black americans of all ages. We will also continue to pursue an intersectional social justice policy agenda that includes protecting much needed protections for mental health medical services through the Affordable Care Act. I encourage you to follow @NBJCOnTheMove across digital platforms for the most current information on where we are and how we are working to show up in community with those we serve.


If we are truly the keepers of our communities, than we must prioritize mental health in movement and advocacy efforts as well. The stability and future of our families depends on it. If you do not have a therapist, a trained professional to support YOU in doing the work of fighting for social justice I encourage you to enroll someone you trust to serve in this important role. Consider using this therapist resource directory developed by the Association of Black Psychologists. Also consider scheduling time for you–dates with yourself, play time with friends, quality time with family biological and chosen. Be selfish, remembering that if you do not do the work required to preserve you, you cannot show up for anyone else. Our community and our country need YOU!


In love and continued struggle,


David J. Johns

Executive Director





Benjamin Crump Joins NBJC Board




The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is proud to announce the appointment of national civil rights attorney Benjamin L. Crump to its Board of Directors, effective immediately.


Crump, founder of the Tallahassee, Florida-based law firm  Ben Crump Law, PLLC , has represented a breadth of high-profile clients in some of the most important and contentious social justice cases of our time. He is widely recognized for his fearless pursuit of justice for all people and has built a legacy around the notion that the Constitution applies to everyone at every level of society, including the Black LGBTQ/SGL community.


“NBJC is incredibly pleased to have Attorney Ben Crump join our Board of Directors, particularly given his intersectional advocacy for Black people who have faced any form of discrimination, injustice or unwarranted violence due to their race, sexual orientation or gender identity,” said David J. Johns, NBJC Executive Director. “I often say that ‘for as long as there have been Black people, there have been Black LGBTQ/SGL people,’ and given this truth, it is imperative that we have civil rights leaders who recognize the intersectional oppression our community faces.”





New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray announced, in April, the launch of a new program to help African American men cope with mental health. Brothers Thrive, which is part of a broader initiative ThriveNYC, is a partnership among coalition members working to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and to reduce stigma to increase access to quality mental health services and supports. The ultimate goal is to reduce the impact of mental illnesses including by providing Black men with safe spaces to discuss and the support needed to access healthcare services. NBJC is honored to partner with First Lady of new York Chirlane McCray on Brothers Thrive to ensure every member of our community is happy, healthy and whole. Learn more about Brother’s Thrive here.


David Johns + Thrive



The Intersection: HIV & Mental Health




Nearly every one among us will face mental health challenges in their lifetime. This is especially true for people living with HIV, which is a chronic condition that can also affect a person’s nervous system and lead to changes in behaviors according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) . People living with HIV are at heightened risks for experiencing isolation and social support neglect, lack of access to services, the constant need to have to disclose one's status and/or facing overall stigma when it comes to HIV. These factors make people living with HIV more vulnerable to mental health challenges.


Because Black people are more disposed to HIV/AIDS as well as the trauma, toxic stress and prolonged exposure to poverty that contribute to mental health challenges it is especially important for us to take care of ourselves both mentally and physically. 


This month let us engage in courageous conversations that debunk stigma surrounding HIV and mental health. Mental health and HIV are treatable and a critical step to increasing the number of Black people thriving while living with mental health challenges and complications associated with HIV/AIDS is choosing care and empathy. We are a community of people who have worked together to overcome the darkest days and we know that getting to an AIDS-free future requires each of us standing together. Will you join NBJC in this effort?



#Pact4HIV | #StartTalkingStopHIV




Mental Health Month Twitter Chat




Join NBJC & community partners in a critical conversation about mental health in minority communities. The goal of the chat is to highlight strategies for reducing stigma and increasing access to quality mental health services and supports. Follow @NBJCOnTheMove on Twitter and join the conversation using the hashtags  #MinorityMentalHeath & #NBJCAdvocacy




Join NBJC’s Executive Director at

The State of LGBTQ People of Color In America



NAACP 109TH Annual Convention

San Antonio, Texas




To attend this important convening,

you can register HERE .




NBJC Internship/Fellowship Opportunities

Are Open for the Fall!




The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.