WCW – Bebe Moore Campbell

I don’t think I have ever done a woman crush Wednesday. So I decide my first woman crush would be Bebe Moore Campbell. You may not know her too well, but you may know her daughter, Maia Campbell. Maia was a very popular actress within the African American community during the 90s. She would have gain more success, but due to her untreated struggle with bipolar disorder, it stopped her achieving her goals in Hollywood. Of course with Maia going down the road of self destruction from her mental illness, it has created a lot of tension, drama, and resentment within her family; especially with her mom Bebe Moore Campbell.

Bebe was already a best selling author, a journalist, and a teacher. Due to her daughter’s illness she became a mental health advocate. Her main focus was to provide mental health education and awareness to African Americans/minorities. Within diverse communities, mental illness is an extremely taboo subject.

However, Campbell was fueled to end stigma and provide mental health information. She did it with her partner in crime, LindaWharton-Boyd. The duo got to work, outlining the concept of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and what it would entail. With the support of the D.C. Department of Mental Health and then-mayor Anthony Williams, they held a news conference in Southeast D.C., where they encouraged residents to get mental health checkups.

The two even wrote a book called 72 Hours. They were inspired by the fact people who are feeling suicidal were kept for 72 hours of monitoring. The book itself takes about 72 hours to read. Hoping it will help with people’s mental state.

Campbell and Wharton-Boyd held book signings, spoke in churches and created a National Minority Mental Health Taskforce of friends and allies. However, the effort came to a halt when Campbell became too ill to continue. Eventually, Campbell lost her battle to cancer. Wharton-Boyd, friends, family and allied advocates reignited their cause, inspired by the passion of the life of an extraordinary woman.

The group gained support of Representatives Albert Wynn [D-MD] and Diane Watson [D-CA], who co-signed legislation to create an official minority mental health awareness month. In May of 2008, the US House of Representatives announce July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

This is why I have her as my WCW. Obviously she’s an remarkable woman. I have not read the book 72 Hours, but I will definitely add it to my reading list. Have you read the book? If so, please comment below. We can all do our part in the world of mental health education, if we just adult one day at a time. xoxo

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