Raising Awareness

Many mental health, substance use, and recovery awareness efforts occur throughout the year, several of which are described below. Supporting and promoting each awareness effort is an opportunity to make a difference in your life and in the lives of others. Make your footprint to take action, make a change, and promote mental health and substance use awareness.   

Please also visit DHCS’ Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorder Services to learn more about California’s mental health and substance use disorder programs. Below is a list of months, weeks, and days to acknowledge mental health and substance use awareness.

Mental Health Awareness Month and Week

Since 1949 the United States has observed Mental Health Awareness Month each May. In May, communities across California are encouraged to join millions of people in the United States to spread mental health awareness.
Mental Illness Awareness Week (also known as Mental Health Awareness Week) was established in 1990 by the United States Congress in recognition of efforts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to educate and increase awareness about mental illness. Mental Health Awareness Week takes place every year during the first full week of October.

National Suicide Prevention Week

National Suicide Prevention Week is an annual week-long campaign during the first week in September in the United States to inform and engage health professionals and the general public about suicide prevention and warning signs of suicide. By drawing attention to the problem of suicide in the United States, the campaign also strives to reduce stigma, encourage pursuing mental health assistance, and support people who have attempted suicide.

National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month in September has inspired millions of people to raise awareness about mental health and substance use disorders, share their stories of recovery, and encourage others who are still in need of services and support.
National Recovery Month began in 1989 as Treatment Works Month, which honored the work of substance use treatment professionals. The observance evolved into National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in 1998, when it expanded to include celebrating the accomplishment of individuals in recovery from substance use disorders. The observance evolved once again in 2011 to National Recovery Month to include all aspects of behavioral health.  

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week

Since 2005 the first week of May is celebrated as the National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and educate the public on the needs of children with emotional, behavioral, or mental health needs and their families. Increasing efforts to prevent and identify early mental health challenges is critical to preventing and intercepting mental illness. This effort requires full family engagement, along with policy leaders and health practitioners helping to support families so that children are enabled to be resilient. One day during this week is celebrated as the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Awareness efforts focus on the importance of an integrated health approach to supporting children, youth, and young adults with serious emotional disturbance who have experienced trauma.

National Maternal Depression Awareness Month

May is considered National Maternal Depression Awareness Month and recognizes the significance of maternal depression during pregnancy and postpartum periods. Mothers are central to families and provide emotional support, fulfill financial obligations, and do a large amount of child rearing. When a mother is sick or under stress the whole family, including her children can suffer tremendously. For many, pregnancy can be the happiest time, but for some pregnancy can be extremely stressful resulting in mental and physical illness. Postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis are common mental health disorders affecting mothers. It is important to recognize and raise awareness of these issues and their long-term impacts on families and children.

Last modified date: 3/24/2021 12:16 AM