A pioneer of equitable mental health: Honoring Bebe Moore Campbell


Tue, 05/03/2022 – 15:44

By Allissa Torres

We must never forget the pioneers who laid the foundation for today’s mental health culture. One of those trailblazers was Bebe Moore Campbell, someone who saw injustice and turned it into action. She was a truth-teller, advocate, mother, author, daughter, pioneer, teacher, and friend. Most importantly, though, Bebe was a fighter. She fought for equitable mental health care, especially for Black and African American communities. She fought to ensure that neither her loved ones nor others’ loved ones went without the support they deserved. She was intentional. She never once shied away from the truth: People deserve to thrive, even when they’re sick, even when their brains are fighting against them.

And, thanks to former Congressman Rep. Albert Wynn and networks of friends, on June 2, 2008, a bipartisan and bicameral Congress formally recognized July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The month brings awareness to the experiences and the unique struggles of underrepresented communities interfacing with the mental health system in the U.S. Bebe’s legacy continues to inspire a national movement for parity, inclusion, and navigating the mental health needs of people of color away from the criminal justice system and into a health justice ecosystem grounded in treatment, empathy, and cultural humility.

Bebe used storytelling as her advocacy, ensuring that narratives that often go unheard were at the forefront of her work. A best-selling author of several books, including “Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine,” “Singing in the Comeback Choir,” “What You Owe Me,” and “Brothers and Sisters,” Bebe received many prestigious honors for her works that so-often focused on racism and mental health. Beyond the written word, she used her voice as an NPR commentator to speak on the stigma of mental health and the intersections of being a Black woman in America.

She also took her advocacy to the community, co-founding in 2003 the National Alliance on Mental Illness Inglewood, which later became NAMI Urban Los Angeles, a countywide chapter providing multicultural and multilingual education and resources to the Black, Latino, and Korean communities that reside within the County of Los Angeles, including those seeking support as families, peers, and individuals with lived experience.

Bebe Moore Campbell fought tirelessly for equitable mental health care until she passed away in 2006 at 56 — an age that allowed her to make an indelible mark on this world and illuminate inspired change and encouraging unwavering faith. There is no doubt the national conversation on the mental health needs of communities that have been traditionally marginalized would not be what it is without her dedication and steadfast courage to challenge systems of care. We at Mental Health America are grateful for her tireless advocacy and fighting spirit that has undoubtedly led countless individuals on the path toward healing, hope, and mental well-being.

Allissa Torres is director of mental health equity at Mental Health America.


The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

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Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…


Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.


Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at: