Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health makes a year-round effort to increase mental health awareness and reduce the stigma.
For Black History Month, there's an extra push to reach those in Black communities, where mental health wellness is often overlooked.
Dennis Horn, the diversity services coordinator, said this is due to "systemic barriers, access issues and different stereotypes around individuals who may be living with a mental illness or mental health condition."
Division manager, Ahmad Bahrami, echoed Horn's statement, adding: "Mental health is not something you have to do because you've done something, but it's more of a way that can help you achieve just a healthier, better quality of life."
The department is working with Black community leaders in the county and releasing a video series called "Revealing."
"Erasing the shame and the despair and the fear around seeking mental health care, and really highlighting areas of hope, ways that we can improve the overall well-being of the black community," said Horn.
There will also be virtual conversations and panel discussions on the department's Facebook every Friday this month.
Topics include normalizing and prioritizing the conversations around mental wellness, the Black church and its role in mental wellness in the black community and pathways to pursuing a career in mental health.
Behavioral Health officials acknowledge more resources need to be available for Black communities. The priorities right now include creating a workforce with more Black practitioners and programs that are community-driven.