Skip to main content

Championing Mental Health: Promoting a More Inclusive Society with William A. Smith, PhD

Image of William A. Smith, PhD
Championing Mental Health: William A. Smith, PhD

As a distinguished scholar and pioneer in his field, William A. Smith, PhD, Chief Executive Administrator for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) at Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI), brings to light the effects of discrimination for people of color in the United States, while he continues to inspire change.

Racial Battle Fatigue, as defined by Smith in 2003, refers to the cumulative impact of racial microaggressions, systemic discrimination, and the daily racial stressors that people of color can experience. It is a term that captures the physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion experienced by individuals when confronted with racial bias, stereotypes, and the challenges of navigating a world that doesn't always recognize their humanity.

The Social and Economic Impact

This exhaustion extends to many facets of life, including social and economic problems. People of color often find themselves grappling with the emotional weight of discrimination and bias in their personal relationships and workplaces. The burden of constantly defending one's identity and worth can lead to emotional disengagement, lowered job satisfaction, stress, and depression. Smith's work has emphasized the critical need for organizations and institutions to address these issues to promote a more inclusive and impartial society.

Mental Health Implications

One of the most significant aspects of Racial Battle Fatigue is its impact on mental health. The constant exposure to racial microaggressions can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. Smith's research highlights the necessity of culturally competent mental health care that acknowledges the unique experiences of people of color and provides support, connection, and strategies to cope with the stressors they face.

William A. Smith's Pioneering Work

This groundbreaking research has played a pivotal role in bringing Racial Battle Fatigue to the forefront of academic and public discussion. Smith’s studies and extensive body of work have provided a framework for understanding the psychological and emotional toll of racial discrimination, enabling individuals and communities to recognize and address the issue.

Smith is facilitating crucial conversations through his research, leadership roles, and work with the Ad Council as part of Huntsman Mental Health Institute’s co-branded anti-stigma campaign, "Love, Your Mind", and corresponding public service announcements, "Love, Your Mind". 

Smith's commitment is a testament to his dedication to addressing the stigma surrounding mental health, particularly among Black and brown men. The national campaign serves as a platform to challenge stereotypes and encourage open discussions about mental health issues that disproportionately affect these communities.

For more information

To learn more about Racial Battle Fatigue, visit:

To learn more about Huntsman Mental Health Institute, visit: / (801) 583-2500

To learn more about the national campaign to change the way we think about mental health, visit: