3 Ways you can Support the Mental Health of Minorities
How To Be An Ally For Minorities
At BYBS, we believe that mental health care is primary care and should be accessible to all. We believe that there are many ways in which a community can lift one another up, advocate for those in need, and provide education and resources to all individuals.
As such, we wanted to honor the fact that July is Minority Mental Health Month and talk about ways in which we can all be allies to marginalized communities.
Minorities, including racial and ethnic groups, religious minorities, LGBT individuals, and individuals with disabilities, often face unique stressors and experiences that can significantly impact their mental health and well-being. While awareness of these sociological issues is the first step to facilitating change, we also invite you to learn 3 powerful ways that you can support the mental health of all, including minority groups, in your community.
3 Ways To Be An Ally
1. Educate yourself
Education is the process of acquiring knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes through various methods such as teaching, training, studying, or researching. It encompasses both formal education within institutions like schools and colleges, as well as informal learning that occurs through life experiences, interactions, and self-directed efforts. Here are some formal and informal steps you can take to educate yourself on the unique challenges that minority groups face:
Recognize and acknowledge your own biases.
Everyone has biases, whether conscious or unconscious. It is simply part of being human. But it is important to be able to identify and reflect on your own biases and prejudices so that you can potentially change them. This practice of self-awareness is crucial in approaching education with an open mind.
Seek diverse perspectives through actively engaging with diverse sources of information, including-
books, articles, documentaries, podcasts, and online resources, authored by individuals from minority groups. This will help you gain insight into their unique experiences, challenges, achievements, and authentic perspectives.
Read 10 educationally powerful books that you can add to your list.
If you are local, see if you can grab them at our community partner, Book + Bottle in St. Pete.
Attend workshops and seminars.
Many organizations and educational institutions offer workshops and seminars focused on topics related to diversity, inclusion, and minority experiences. Participating in these events can enhance your understanding and provide opportunities to interact with individuals from different backgrounds.
Interested in expanding your knowledge through workshops/seminars? Here is a list of the top workshops and seminars on being an ally.
Engage in meaningful conversations
Encourage open dialogue and discussion with individuals who are different from you, whether it’s in your workplace, school, community events, therapy group, etc. Approach these conversations with respect, curiosity, and a willingness to learn. Listen attentively to their experiences and perspectives, and ask thoughtful questions to deepen your understanding.
Seek opportunities to volunteer or collaborate with organizations working towards social justice, equality, and minority empowerment. Active involvement can provide firsthand experiences and a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by minority groups.
The more we learn about the experience of others, the better equipped we are to express compassion, support, and engage in advocacy.
2. Foster Inclusivity
Inclusivity refers to the practice of ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their diverse backgrounds, identities, or characteristics, are respected, valued, and included in social, cultural, and institutional environments. It involves creating a sense of belonging, where everyone feels welcomed, supported, and empowered to participate fully and contribute their unique perspectives.
Here’s a list of ways you can cultivate inclusivity in your life:
Encourage diversity in your workplace by implementing inclusive hiring practices and providing equal opportunities for growth and development.
Here are ways to infuse workplace diversity and inclusivity into your business and life.
Use inclusive language and be mindful of the words you use.
Avoid derogatory/offensive language, use gender-neutral terms when appropriate and respect peoples’ pronouns
Be aware of accessibility
Consider the needs of individuals with disabilities; ensure your physical spaces, events, and digital content are accessible to all…provide accommodations and assistive technologies whenever possible. How to include strategies for disabled individuals in the local community.
Be aware of microaggressions
Subtle, often unintentional, verbal, nonverbal, or environmental behaviors, statements, or actions that convey derogatory or negative messages toward individuals or groups based on their identities or characteristics. They can be rooted in biases, stereotypes, or prejudices and can occur in everyday interactions. Learn how to prevent using microaggressions in this article.
Be mindful of the ripple effect.
If you are consistently practicing the act of inclusion, that positive action will go noticed by others, as people will notice the good that you’re bringing into the community. It’ll be recognized by peers because it’s an act that brings peace to your nervous system as your body produces that warm “rewarding” feeling. Not only will you be taking considerate measures that support minority integration and social equality, but you will also be acting as a strong and firm model for others to feel inspired by and perhaps practice in their own lives.
3. Support minority-owned businesses
Supporting minority-owned businesses is essential for promoting economic empowerment, diversity, and inclusion. It helps to address systemic inequalities, preserve cultural heritage, foster community development, and drive innovation. By consciously choosing to support these businesses, we can contribute to a more equitable and prosperous society for all.
Here’s some ways in which you can support minority-owned business:
Help market your favorite minority-owned shops! Pass out their business cards in the community and post about them on your social media (Instagram stories, local Facebook groups, tiktok
Collaborate and partner: if you have a business or organization, seek opportunities to collaborate with minority-owned businesses. This can include partnerships, joint events, or sharing resources and expertise. Collaborative efforts can provide exposure for everyone!
Attend community events: participate in community events, fairs, and markets that showcase minority-owned businesses. These events provide an excellent platform for businesses to connect with customers and gain public recognition.
Provide mentorship and support: if you have business expertise, consider offering your skills, knowledge, or time to mentor and support minority entrepreneurs through organizations such as these. Share your expertise in areas such as marketing, finance, or business development.
If you run a business or organization, review your supply chain to see if there are minority-owned suppliers and vendors with whom you can contract.
Conclusion - Be an ally for minority individuals
By taking the time to educate yourself and practice implementing inclusive tactics into social, cultural, professional, and institutional environments, you are helping our community build social cohesion, foster innovation, promote economic/business growth, and contribute to individual well-being. Through these steps, we can create a vibrant and thriving community that benefits all!
If we can be helpful at Be Your Best Self and Thrive to provide a safe place for you to process what it means for you to b an ally or to provide support for you as a minority, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with our therapist in St. Pete.
Hey everyone! My name’s Alayna Dorfman and I’m the content creator for Be Your Best Self and Thrive. I’m currently an undergraduate student at University of South Florida and am pursuing a degree in Psychology. I have a natural passion for writing, so I am beyond thankful to have been given this opportunity to strengthen my writing skills and write about topics that I personally enjoy reading. I hope you enjoyed reading, Mental Health Minority Month: How to be an Ally.