Mental Health Awareness
Mental Health Awareness is essential in our complex world. It aims to increase understanding of mental health issues and the wide swath they cut through our society, encouraging individuals, family members, educators, and health professionals to reach out and explore what can help.
Recent reports of rising rates of suicide and substance use, especially in middle aged women and men, reiterate the urgency to promote positive mental health throughout the life course, but especially in a child’s formative years.
According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 44 million adults (18%) experience mental illness in a given year, and approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder in a given year. The American Psychological Association estimates 10% of all youth and adolescents have a serious mental health issue. And a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the number of suicides in the United States has risen 24% since 1999.
Promoting mental health, preventing mental illness, and increasing access to treatment and recovery involves working through schools, communities, mental health agencies, and systems such as child welfare and juvenile justice. Learn more about mental health issues and strategies in the resources that follow.
The National Resource Center works closely with and offers many resources for schools communities, states, tribes, and territories. Among them is a November 2016 e-book on core strategies to promote young child wellness—from early developmental and behavioral screening, to mental health consultation, to the integration of behavioral health into primary care. The e-book highlights community experiences from Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health) grantees, an initiative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It is rich with creative approaches, lessons learned, and illustrative data from communities as diverse as the Bronx, the Texas border, and the upper Northwest.
The National Resource Center has self-paced learning modules and online learning events to support and provide training on a wide range of topics related to mental health promotion, including developing comprehensive school mental health programs in communities.
- Blueprint for Using Data to Reduce Disparities/Disproportionalities in Human Services and Behavioral Health Care
The emotional and psychological well-being of individuals promotes healthy development and functioning, and increases the capacity of individuals to live productive lives while striving towards reaching their full potential. A major aspect of the school environment includes promoting the mental health of all students, and the provision of programs and services to address those needs. Topics addressed include: