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:
April 30, 2015 – Green Ribbon Day. To kick off May as National Mental Health Awareness Month, Members of Congress, their staff, and advocates will wear green ribbons to reduce stigma and support mental wellness. 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 13, 2015 – Lived Experience: Survivors of Suicide. A panel will define lived experience and provide information regarding what we know about those who live with the experience of suicide (ideation and/or attempts). Panel members will share their stories of recovery and discuss ways to engage persons with lived experience in suicide prevention efforts and in order to reduce stigma associated with suicide and mental health concerns.
May 14, 2015 – Parity 101: Understanding the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. This informative briefing will provide an overview of federal parity protections, as well as the challenges that still exist to make parity a reality for all.
May 19, 2015 – Mental Health First Aid or HIPPA Briefing. More information coming soon.
May 21, 2015 – Military Mental Health Awareness Day. More information coming soon.