May Mental Health Awareness Month

What is May Mental Health Awareness Month?

Since 1949, May has been observed as National Mental Health Awareness Month, a time when advocates and activists across the country draw attention to the mental health issues that affect as many as one in four Americans. Today, more people die from suicide in the United States than from traffic accidents or homicides, and we lose 25 soldiers to suicide for every solider lost in combat.

Unfortunately, because of the stigma associated with mental illness, many people are too ashamed or embarrassed to seek the help they need for themselves or their loved ones. National Mental Health Awareness Month is a time when we work together to break through that stigma. We express compassion for those who struggle with mental health issues, and we draw attention to the proven methods that can help change their lives for the better.

Congressional Events for May Mental Health Awareness Month:

May 7, 2013 – National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. There will be a briefing and panel discussion to highlight the impact of trauma on positive youth development, systems of care, programs aimed at improving care coordination, and the service capacity of our current mental health system.

May 8, 2013 – Mental Health First Aid Training. Congressional staff will be given the skills, resources, and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, social, and self-help care.

May 15, 2013 – Military/Veteran Mental Health Awareness Day. The Military Mental Health Caucus will host a briefing about the ongoing mental health crisis in the military and what is being done to address it. Panelist Dr. Elizabeth Stanley will present information on her Mindfulness-based Mind Fitness Training that has been provided pre-deployment to Soldiers and Marines.

May 22, 2013 – Discussion on Youth Suicide/Mental Health in America. Student panelists from George Washington University, the Action Alliance to Prevent Suicide and school-based mental health experts will address the high suicide rates affecting youth ages 10-24 and the need for school-based mental health services.

Join the conversation and spread the word on Twitter by following me at @gracenapolitano. Also, please use the official Mental Health Awareness Month hashtag #mhm2013 to participate.

Materials related to these events will be posted online, and recorded videos for some events will be available online following the events. Please continue to check this web page for updates.