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Highlighting Black Mental Health Heroes - Feb. 2021

In honor of Black History Month, HopeLine highlighted Black mental health leaders and pioneers each week in February 2021. Here is a culmination of those posts for those who may have missed those posts and who are interested in learning about Black mental health heroes.

Bebe Moore Campbell was a writer and leader who through her writing and work with NAMI, worked to remove the stigma surrounding Black people who struggled with their mental health. She was an advocate for mental health throughout her life, and she worked to help introduce the initial legislation for National Minority Mental Health Month. While she passed away before it was finalized, Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Month was named in her honor. We are so thankful for Bebe Moore Campbell and the impact she left on the mental health community.

Dr. Maxie T. Collier was a mental health professional who throughout his life worked to meet the mental health needs of people of color. Some of his numerous accomplishments include co-founding the Black Mental Health Alliance, creating The Baltimore Project, and creating an office of Minority Health in Baltimore. Dr. Collier was also the Commissioner of Health for Baltimore, and worked as the Chief of Psychiatry for John Hopkins Health Plan. The legacy of Dr. Collier is long-lasting, and the work that he did has made an impact that will last forever.

Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark was the first Black woman to obtain her doctoral degree from Columbia University, and founded the Northside Center for Child Development with her husband Kenneth. This center was the first of its kind in the Harlem area, and worked to provide mental health services for minority children. Dr. Clark created the classic doll test which showed the effects of segregation on children, specifically in the Brown vs. the Board of Education case which ended in a Supreme Court ruling that racial segregation was unconstitutional. Dr. Clark’s work in the field of psychology was extraordinary, and we are thankful how she paved the way for many.

Yolo Akili Robinson is the founder and executive director of BEAM, Black Emotional And Mental Health Collective. He has spent his career working in public health, founding BEAM and Sweet Tea: South Queer Men’s Collective, and worked as the project manager for the Healthy Young Men’s study for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Mr. Robinson is also a yoga teacher, and writer. His commitment to Black mental health has changed countless lives, and we’re excited to see what he does next.

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