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Mental Health Caucus Co-Chairs Napolitano & Katko, Sen. Luján Recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month with Bicameral Resolution

May 3, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressional Mental Health Caucus Co-Chairs, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32) and Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24), joined Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) in introducing a bipartisan, bicameral resolution (H. Res. 365), to recognize May as National Mental Health Awareness Month.

"COVID-19 has worsened a mental health crisis that long existed in our country and demands increased funding, resources, and lifelines for all Americans, young and old. Our message is loud and clear: To anyone struggling, you are not alone. It is always okay to ask for help," Napolitano said. "In recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month in Congress we amplify this message, helping to break through the stigma, reach our constituents letting them know we have their back, and connect more people to life-saving care. Everyone can do their part by wearing lime green and sharing words of encouragement, resiliency, and hope all month long. Our combined efforts will shine more light on mental health and raise critical awareness to reach all in need. I thank Congressman Katko, Senator Luján, and all of our colleagues for supporting this resolution and our continued partnership to bring much needed visibility to the issue of mental health."

"I’m proud to join Representative Napolitano and Senator Luján in introducing a bipartisan, bicameral resolution to recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month," said Rep. Katko. "Studies have shown the ongoing pandemic has contributed to rising rates of mental illness. Now more than ever, it’s important for us to foster conversations surrounding mental illness and work to reduce the stigma associated with seeking treatment. As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Mental Health Caucus, during the month of May I’ll be working to do just that and I encourage all Americans to join me in this effort."

"The public health crisis has caused an unprecedented rise in mental health challenges,” said Senator Luján. "After our way of life and economy were disrupted last year, the stress and immense uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 triggered and exacerbated mental health issues in countless Americans. Congress must act urgently to ensure that all Americans struggling with their mental health have access to the programs and resources to get better. I’m honored to stand with Congresswoman Napolitano and Congressman Katko to bring attention to this issue and kick off the start of Mental Health 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 17 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.

The Congressional Mental Health Caucus will be hosting a series of virtual events, due to the pandemic, to educate lawmakers and the public for Mental Health Awareness Month. The full calendar of events can be found here.