Celebrating Black History Month: Honoring Trailblazers in Mental Health

Seven Counties Services proudly recognizes Black Americans’ invaluable contributions to the mental health field. From groundbreaking research to advocacy, Black individuals have played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of mental health awareness and support. To amplify their stories and acknowledge the resilience, strength, and expertise they bring to the table, we’ve highlighted several mental health trailblazers below.  

Join us in celebrating those who have impacted mental well-being and continue to inspire change. Together, we can create a space that celebrates diversity, promotes understanding, and advocates for mental health for all! 

Honoring Bebe Moore Campbell 

Bebe Moore Campbell, an extraordinary American author, journalist, teacher, and mental health advocate, dedicated her life to shining a light on mental health needs within the Black community and other underrepresented groups.  

In her quest to provide a safe space for conversations around mental health, Campbell founded NAMI-Inglewood in a predominantly Black neighborhood. This initiative aimed to create a supportive environment where Black individuals could openly discuss their mental health concerns. 

Campbell’s advocacy extended to the national level as she made her mark in Washington, DC. On June 2, 2008, when congress formally recognized her contributions by establishing “Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.” This annual observance is dedicated to raising awareness about the unique challenges that underrepresented groups face regarding mental health in the United States. 

Let’s remember Bebe Moore Campbell for her tireless efforts to break down barriers and foster understanding around mental health. Join us in honoring her legacy and continuing the important conversation on mental health awareness! Download printable information sheet.  

Celebrating Herman George Canady: Pioneer in Psychology 

Herman George Canady was a distinguished Black clinical and social psychologist who made groundbreaking contributions to the field. Canady is the first psychologist to delve into the influence of rapport between an IQ test proctor and the subject. His research focused on how the race of a test proctor can introduce bias in IQ testing, highlighting the need for a more inclusive examination of intelligence. 

Beyond research, Canady played a pivotal role in shaping testing environments conducive to the success of Black students. His work emphasized the importance of creating environments that reflect and support students’ diverse experiences, contributing to a more equitable educational landscape. 

Let’s celebrate Herman George Canady’s legacy as a trailblazer in psychology and acknowledge the impact of his work on fostering fairness and understanding in testing practices! Download printable information sheet. 

Drs. Mamie and Kenneth Clark: Advocates for Equality and Mental Health 

Drs. Mamie Phipps Clark and Kenneth Bancroft Clark are renowned for their groundbreaking “Doll Study” involving over 200 Black children. Their work provided vital evidence in the historic Brown vs. The Board of Education case, highlighting the psychological harm of school segregation on Black children. Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark’s passion for mental health equality led to the establishment of her own agency, “The Northside Center for Child Development,” in Harlem in February 1946. 

For over three decades, Dr. Clark dedicated herself to counseling and providing comprehensive psychological services to underserved communities. Even after her retirement in 1979, Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark continued to make a difference. Serving on advisory boards and remaining active in her community, she exemplified a lifelong commitment to mental health and social justice. 

Join us in saluting these trailblazers for their unwavering dedication to equality, education, and mental well-being! Download printable information sheet. 

Celebrating the Inspirational Journey of Jacki McKinney 

Jacki McKinney M.S.W., was a remarkable survivor who triumphed over trauma, addiction, homelessness, and the challenges of the psychiatric and criminal justice systems. As a family advocate specializing in issues impacting African American women and their children, she co-founded the National People of Color Consumer/Survivor Network. 

Ms. McKinney, an influential consultant and advisor to the Center for Mental Health Services, left an indelible mark with her powerful presentations to national audiences. She addressed critical topics such as seclusion/restraint, intergenerational family support, and minority issues in public mental health. 

Recognized for her outstanding contributions, Ms. McKinney received Mental Health America’s prestigious Clifford W. Beers Award. This honor, reserved for a mental health and/or substance use services consumer, reflects her dedication to improving conditions and attitudes toward individuals with mental illnesses. 

Further acknowledging her impactful leadership and advocacy, she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration’s Voice Awards program. This accolade commends her distinguished efforts on behalf of trauma survivors. 

Join us in celebrating Jacki McKinney’s resilience, advocacy, and lifetime commitment to creating positive change in mental health and substance use services! Download printable information sheet. 

Seven Counties Services extends heartfelt appreciation to all who joined us in celebrating Black Americans’ profound contributions to the mental health field throughout Black History Month. From trailblazing advocates like Bebe Moore Campbell to pioneers like Herman George Canady and the inspirational journey of Jacki McKinney, each story represents resilience, advocacy, and a commitment to fostering positive change. 

As we reflect on the legacies of these extraordinary individuals, let’s carry forward the momentum. Let their stories inspire ongoing conversations, understanding, and advocacy for mental health equality. 

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