Spotlight on Mental Health Month

A range of activities are underway to promote public awareness of mental health.

Public Relations staff

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the American Psychological Association (APA) and the APA Practice Directorate are spotlighting a range of issues, including traumatic stress and suicide in youth. These activities are intended to help people recognize the importance of good mental health, overcome stigma and encourage the public to seek out professional mental health services when needed.

Talking about mental health Congress designated May as Mental Health Month in 1949 to recognize the importance of mental health issues to the overall health and well-being of American citizens. Each year, bloggers join APA for a Mental Health Month Blog Day hosted by APA's Mind/Body Health public education campaign blog, Your Mind, Your Body, to promote awareness of mental health issues, decrease stigma about mental illness, and discuss strategies for making lasting lifestyle and behavior changes that promote overall health and wellness.

This year, bloggers generated posts on a range of topics such as postpartum depression, suicide prevention, stress and addiction. A round up of all the blog day posts can be found at Your Mind, Your Body. A Facebook image proclaiming "this person is talking about mental health on May 15, 2013" was liked and shared more than 700 times and reached more than 32,000 viewers.

Other Mental Health Month activities include:

  • Tuesday, May 7: National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day Legislative Briefing
    This congressional briefing featured Anthony P. Mannarino, PhD, APA member and director of the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents, and other national mental health experts speaking on how traumatic events affect a child's development, how to better coordinate care and services and what treatment options exist for mentally ill children through the public health system. As a national supporter of SAMHSA's National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, APA used Twitter to send messages throughout the day related to children's mental health using the hashtag #HeroesofHope.
  • Thursday, May 9: Great Expectations: Exploring Family Dynamics and Stress among Asian and Asian-American Populations
    APA's Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs (OEMA) sponsored a community forum through its Ethnicity and Health in America Series (EHAS) to raise public awareness of stress as it relates to family expectations and demands among America's Asian and Asian-American populations. The forum was hosted in partnership with Washington, D.C.'s Mayor's Office on Asian American/Pacific Islander Affairs and the Montgomery County Asian American and Pacific Islander Health Initiative. Please check OEMA's EHAS webpage for details concerning the forum.
  • Wednesday, May 15: Speak Up for Kids Webcast
    APA President-Elect Nadine Kaslow, PhD, hosted a webcast on suicide prevention in youth as part of Speak Up for Kids, a national month long online campaign coordinated by the Child Mind Institute.
  • Wednesday, May 22: Parenting Anxieties and Mental Health Facebook Chat
    Psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD, APA's assistant executive director for practice research and policy, will answer questions from the public about how to handle the worries and stress that come with raising babies and young children. Join Dr. Bufka on APA's Facebook page to post questions and comments.