social capital noun. the value of our social networks & relationships

Supporting Mental Health: A Spotlight on Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and Vital Resources

Published by Nicole Porter on

As we approach the end of July, we wanted to be sure to acknowledge and highlight an important observance: July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This is a time to focus on raising awareness and acknowledging the distinct mental health stigmas and challenges experienced by racial and ethnic minority communities in the United States.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had significant impacts on mental health. New research indicates that this is especially true for minority children. A recent study published in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health revealed a significant increase in depression/anxiety problems and social risks among urban, racial, and ethnic minority school-age children compared to before the pandemic. The study, led by Dr. Andrea E. Spencer from Boston University School of Medicine, examined 168 children aged 5 to 11 years old from an urban safety-net hospital-based pediatric primary care practice between September 2019 and January 2021.

The research uncovered alarming results, with these children experiencing higher levels of emotional and behavioral symptoms during the pandemic. More children showed clinical concerns related to depression and anxiety scores during this time, and caregivers reported increased social risks.

Dr. Spencer emphasized the critical need for public health efforts to mitigate the psychosocial effects on racial and ethnic minority children and communities. The study calls for solutions to support the increased demand for mental health services during these challenging times.

The results of this study are unsettling, underscoring the urgent need for ongoing public health efforts to address the psychosocial effects of the pandemic on racial and ethnic minority children and communities. 

In light of these findings, we wanted to share two resources that may be helpful if you, your child, or a family member are facing mental health issues:

The Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line (BHHL) is available to connect you directly with clinical assistance, when and where you need it. Even if you’re uncertain about the specific help or treatment you need, their team can provide guidance and support. 

  • Call or text 833-773-2445
  • Live chat available at: 
  • Available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year (including holidays)
  • It’s free, confidential, and no health insurance is required.
  • Real-time interpretation in 200+ languages
  • Deaf or hard of hearing? Contact MassRelay at 711
The Lifeline and 988 When people reach out to the 988 Lifeline through calls, texts, or chats, they are linked with trained counselors who are part of the expansive 988 Lifeline network consisting of over 200 local crisis centers. These counselors have received specialized training to offer free and confidential emotional support and crisis counseling to those facing suicidal thoughts or emotional distress, and they can also connect them to essential resources. These services are accessible 24/7 nationwide.
  • Call or text 988
  • Live Chat available at
  • Available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year (including holidays)
  • It’s free, confidential, and no health insurance is required.
  • Callers who follow the “press 1” prompt are connected to the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • A Spanish Language line is available by pressing 2 when calling 9-8-8, and more than 240 languages are supported through a Tele-Interpreters service.
  • Callers now also have the option of following a “press 3” prompt to be connected to a counselor specifically trained in supporting LGBTQI+ callers.

The effects of the pandemic are complex and far-reaching but by sharing resources and working together to find solutions, we can make a difference in the lives of our children during these trying times.


Pandemic Worsened Mental Health, Social Risk in Minority Children

Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line
The Lifeline and 988