Highlighting BIPOC Changemakers Who Help Reduce Cultural Stigma Around Mental Illness

“People of color, particularly African Americans, feel the stigma more keenly. In a race-conscious society, some don’t want to be perceived as having yet another deficit.” –Bebe Moore Campbell

July kicks off BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month— a time that raises awareness about unique struggles that historically excluded groups face when it comes to mental health. At Crisis Text Line, we address the barriers to mental health support for marginalized communities, which is critical to our mission to promote mental wellbeing for people wherever they are. Throughout the month of July, we will be celebrating mental health changemakers who increase awareness of the issues Black, Indigenous, and people of color face, which helps to reduce stigma so those with mental health concerns can get the help they need to thrive.  

The Steve Fund is the nation’s leading organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color. The Steve Fund works with colleges and universities, non-profits, researchers, mental health experts, families, and young people to promote programs and strategies that build understanding and assistance for the mental and emotional health of the nation’s young people of color. 

“I believe in utilizing a person-centered and holistic approach to create equitable systems that work alongside young people to support their mental health and well-being.” – Brandi Pretlow, Vice President of Programs and Services at The Steve Fund

Thank you Brandi and The Steve Fund for continuing to promote awareness and dialogue around the mental well-being of young people of color.


Most of you may know Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson from professional wrestling, his acting and producing roles. Recently, he has opened up about his struggles with mental health and how he finds support and strength to overcome those mental obstacles. He continues to share his story and show up with vulnerability to break down the stigma around mental health. Reflecting on his experiences with depression and how he became accustomed to mental health, he motivates others to find support and resources to gain an understanding and the help they need. 

“If you’re going through your own version of mental wellness turning into mental hell-ness, the most important thing you can do is talk to somebody. Having the courage to talk to someone is your superpower.” – Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne–thank you for using your experiences to create space for others to reflect and evolve on their own conversation with mental health. 


Maleah Nore is a member of the Tlingit Nation from Wrangell, Alaska, and has created an advocacy and support career focusing on effectively supporting people during distress and especially bolstering resilience amongst tribal communities and youth. Every day, Maleah is a changemaker as she continues to advocate and share resources supporting people in need. In her work with  Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB), WeRNative, and THRIVE Suicide Prevention Project, Maleah is elevating access to mental health care by creating resources that people can find when they need them the most. 

Thank you, Maleah, for continuing to connect with empathy and highlight the power of community. 


Jahkil Jackson is a 2-time best-selling author, youth-philanthropist, social-entrepreneur, student-athlete, influencer and founder of Project I Am, a nonprofit organization he created when he was eight years old to build awareness about homelessness. Now 15, Jahkil has already earned a reputation for himself as one of the world’s most influential changemakers by President Barack Obama. He has made it his mission to assist those in need who are residing on the streets and in shelters while engaging other youth to become change agents.

“When I focus on my mental and physical health, I try to set realistic expectations and pay attention to triggers, which has become part of my daily routine as well.” –Jahkil Jackson

Jahkil– thank you for shedding light on the struggles that teens face on a daily basis with balancing responsibilities with sports, school, home and work.


Srimaye Samudrala, one of our amazing volunteer Crisis Counselors, is currently a junior at UC San Diego studying Human Biology.  She is passionate about destigmatizing conversations around mental health among youth in her community. Additionally, through her university, she is part of various mental health and wellness groups to bring awareness around these issues to her peers. 

“As a Crisis Text Line volunteer, I aim to normalize talking about different mental health topics by creating a safe space for conversation.” –Srimaye Samudrala

You are a true changemaker. Thank you Srimaye for utilizing empathy to connect with people’s stories so they feel supported.


Looking to make a difference in people’s lives? Interested in supporting people in need? Join Crisis Text Line’s community of volunteer Crisis Counselors today!


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