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 22 veterans to suicide daily.

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 11, 2016 – Children's Mental Health Panel. Co-hosted by Congressional Mental Health Caucus Chair Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32) and Congressman John Katko (R-NY-24), in conjunction with NAMI, Mental Health America, National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, American Acadmy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Bazelon Center. There will be a briefing and panel discussion to highlight the impact of early identification and intervention through school-based programs that positively impact youth development, improve systems of care programs, and educate school staff and the surrounding community.

May 17, 2016 – Stigma in the AAPI Community. Co-hosted by the Congressional Mental Health Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). A panel will focus on the issues of stigma and access to care within the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community.

May 18, 2016 – Military Mental Health Awareness Day. Military Mental Health Caucus Co-Chairs, Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) & Thomas Rooney (R-FL-17), will co-host a briefing and panel discussion on Peer Support Specialists deployed in the VA system to help veterans navigate the behavioral health system.

Join the conversation and spread the word on Twitter by following me at @gracenapolitano. Also, please use the official Mental Health Awareness Month hashtag #mhm2016 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.