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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 2018:

May 8, 2018 – The Role of Mental Health First Aid in Fighting the Opiod Crisis. Co-hosted by Congresswomen Doris Matsui (D-CA-06) and Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-02), the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, and the National Council for Behavioral Health. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)  is a nationwide program that teaches the public skills on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of common mental health and substance use disorders.  In response to the nation’s opioid crisis MHFA has recently launched an overdose education and naloxone training program. Come hear from a panel of police officers, firefighters, and paramedics as they discuss their front-line experiences.

May 9, 2018 – Children's Mental Health Panel. Co-hosted by Congressional Mental Health Caucus, in conjunction with NAMI, Mental Health America, the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists. There will be a briefing and panel discussion that will focus on the need for integration of mental health and physical health for children to improve long-term outcomes.

May 16, 2018 – Green Ribbon Day, featuring a group photo with Congressional Members and Mental Health Advocates. Co-hosted by the Congressional Mental Health Caucus and the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health. Members are encouraged to show their support for mental health by joining mental health advocates for a group photo and wearing a green ribbon all day.

May 16, 2018 – Veterans Mental Health Briefing. Co-hosted by the Military Mental Health Caucus and the Congressional Mental Health Caucus. Boulder Crest Retreat is providing groundbreaking training to veterans suffering from war trauma. Briefing will include a discussion about Post Traumatic Growth and how this powerful concept creates hope, possibility, and opportunity.

May 17, 2018 – Addressing the crisis in older adult mental health. Co-hosted by the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, the National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors, and the National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging.

May 22, 2018 – NEABPD Event. Co-hosted by the Congressional Mental Health Caucus and the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder.

May 23, 2018 – Is Treating Depression the Answer to Solving the Opioid Crisis. Co-hosted by the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, Takeda Pharmaceutical, and the National Association of County, Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors. This event will examine the role of mental illness care, specifically treatment of depression, in addressing the current opioid crisis.  Persons with depression are more than twice as likely as others to use and become dependent upon opioids.  Good mental health care will play a very important role in addressing this difficult problem.

Join the conversation and spread the word on Twitter by following me at @gracenapolitano. Also, please use the official Mental Health Awareness Month hashtag #mhm2018 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.