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May 2016Vol. 17, No. 3Special Initiative: Mental Health Awareness

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of Americans affected by mental health conditions. Highlighted each year by Presidential Proclamation, this initiative month aims to reduce the stigmas that are often associated with mental health issues, increase awareness and understanding of these issues, provide support for those affected by mental health issues, and advocate for appropriate care. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime, and one in five children ages 13–18 have or will have a serious mental illness. Learn about how NAMI, the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization, can help you raise awareness about mental health on its 2016 National Mental Health Awareness Month website at

May 5, 2016, is also National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. Each year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) dedicates a day in May to raising awareness about the importance of children's mental health and to show that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development from birth. Children and youth involved with child welfare are particularly at risk of suffering mental health issues. Children who have suffered maltreatment can experience intense trauma, which may affect many aspects of their lives and last well into adulthood. Learn more about how SAMHSA can help you raise awareness about the importance of children's mental health during this initiative day, and every day of the year, by visiting its website at

Child Welfare professionals working with children, youth, and families facing mental health issues may be interested in the following resources:

Child Welfare Information Gateway


National Child Traumatic Stress Network