Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Womyn of the Week - Bebe Moore Campbell 1950-2006

I know I said that this week would be about Dorothea Dix, but considering that the U.S. House of Representatives established July as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month just last year, because of Bebe Moore Campbell, I decided I must write about her instead. The idea behind having a national month is "to increase public awareness of mental illness among diverse communities."

Campbell was the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, and What You Owe Me, which was also a Los Angeles Times "Best Book of 2001". Her other works include the novel Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the winner of the NAACP Image Award for Literature; her memoir, Sweet Summer, Growing Up With and Without My Dad; and her first nonfiction book, Successful Women, Angry Men: Backlash in the Two-Career Marriage. Her essays, articles, and excerpts appear in many anthologies.

Campbell's interest in mental health was the catalyst for her first children's book, Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, which was published in September 2003. This book won the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Outstanding Literature Award for 2003. The book tells the story of how a little girl copes with being reared by her mother, who has bipolar disorder. Ms. Campbell was a member of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and a founding member of NAMI-Inglewood. Her book, 72 Hour Hold, is a novel that focuses on an adult daughter and a family's experience with the onset of mental illness. It helped educate Americans that the struggle often is not just with the illness, but with the health care system as well.
Her first play, "Even with the Madness", debuted in New York in June 2003. This work revisited the theme of mental illness and the family. Campbell's last book was another children's book, called I Get So Hungry, about childhood obesity.

As a journalist, Campbell wrote articles for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Essence, Ebony, Black Enterprise, as well as other publications. She was a regular commentator for Morning Edition, a program on National Public Radio.
She died in 2006 due to brain cancer.

Raising Awareness
During July, individuals and families can raise awareness of mental illness, treatment and research in diverse communities during this month by hosting special events and partnering with local businesses and organizations.
2009 National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Events:

NAMI National will host a variety of sessions and events covering multicultural issues including a Town Hall meeting in honor of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month during the NAMI 2009 Convention, July 6-9, in San Francisco.
NAMI Urban Los Angeles is planning a wealth of activities including a Veterans of Color Health and Wellness Fair, a ”Color of Justice” symposium and a quilting bee in honor of Bebe Moore Campbell, a founding member of the affiliate. Visit the NAMI Urban Los Angeles Web site for more information.
NAMI Tennessee will be hosting a Native American Mental Health Summit in late July as part of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
The National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED) will host a Webinar on July 14 in partnership with the NAMI Multicultural Action Center. The Webinar will celebrate National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month by featuring presentations on how individuals across the country are working to raise mental health awareness among diverse communities. Click here to access the NNED Web site for further details and to register.

No comments:

Post a Comment