Issue Awareness by the Month:
Toolkits, Resources, and Campaigns

Every month of the year is designated as an awareness month for at least one issue or cause. In some cases, certain dates or weeks are designated as awareness times for the particular issue of focus.  Most are annual designations, some are one time only due to the important nature of the concern. The topics tackled each month may be an illness, like depression, an effort like recovery from substance use, a socially beneficial program like suicide prevention, or cause requiring focused attention. We want to share with you awareness month designations related to mental health and substance use and recovery that you may find especially helpful.

OCTOBER

Mental Illness Awareness Week  Each year, the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) focuses on the first week in October to educate the public, fight stigma and provide support. This year’s theme is “Together for Mental Health”, with a focus on the importance of advocating for better care for people with serious mental illness (SMI).

World Mental Health Day (October 10)

National ADHD Awareness Month  Focus is on raising awareness of ADHD, removing the stigma, and highlighting the available supports that enable individuals and families to thrive with ADHD.

National Bullying Prevention Month Every October, schools and organizations across the country join STOMP Out Bullying™ in observing National Bullying Prevention Month. The goal: encourage schools, communities and organizations to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying and put an end to hatred and racism by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of all forms of bullying on all children of all ages.

Domestic Violence Prevention Month   

SEPTEMBER

National Suicide Prevention Month  We can all help prevent suicide. Every year mental health organizations and individuals across the U.S. and around the world raise awareness of suicide prevention during September, National Suicide Prevention Month.

National Recovery Month  Now in its 32nd year, 2021 National Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those living in recovery.

September Pain Awareness Month The first Pain Awareness Month was in 2001, when the ACPA led a coalition of groups to establish September as Pain Awareness Month. ACPA established Partners for Understanding Pain and 80 organizations, both health care professionals and consumer groups, including the NAACP supported the effort.

Additional September Seasonal Resources

Back to School: Toolkit for Managing Back to School During COVID-19  

Alzheimers – World Alzheimer’s Month

Healthy Aging Month

JULY

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Month  This year’s theme is Strength in Communities, which highlights alternative mental health supports created by BIPOC and queer and trans BIPOC (QTBIPOC), for BIPOC and QTBIPOC.  Mental Health America offers a free toolkit for July 2021 BIPOC Mental Health Month!  Three topic areas are explored:  community care, self-directed care, and cultural care. You can fill out a form to receive the downloadable toolkit here.

JUNE 

National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month and National PTSD Awareness Day (June 27, 2021) The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has designated June as PTSD Awareness Month; their downloadable booklet, “Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment” is available here.  Information on National PTSD Awareness Day can be found at militarybenefits.info, and general information and resources on PTSD can be found on the following webpages at Mental Health America, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the American Psychiatric Association.

Men’s Health Month and Men’s Health Week (June 14-20, 2021)  These national observances focus on raising awareness of the leading health concerns men face, and encourage healthy living decisions such as exercise and eating healthy.  Please visit menshealth.org and the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health to learn more.  Men’s health data for the US can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

MAY 

Mental Health Month  Mental Health America’s “May is Mental Health Month” theme for 2021 again focuses on Tools2Thrive, providing practical tools to improve mental health and increase resiliency.  Download the 2021 Mental Health Toolkit here; toolkits from past years can be accessed here.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month  Observed annually in May, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month celebrates the contributions that generations of AAPIs have made to American history, society, and culture; please visit asianpacificheritage.gov to learn more.   Mental Health America provides information and resources on demographics, mental health issues and health disparities faced by Asian American and Pacific Islanders on their website 

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 2-8, 2021)  National Federation of Families recognizes Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (CMHAW) in 2021 with the theme “Flip the Script on Mental Health”.  Resources and further information, including activities for children, youth and families can be found here.

National Women’s Health Week (May 9-15, 2021)  Beginning each year on Mother’s Day, National Women’s Health Week is celebrated to encourage women and girls to make their health a priority.  Tips on staying active and healthy are provided on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

National Stuttering Awareness Week (May 10-15, 2021)  The Stuttering Foundation works towards the prevention and improved treatment of stuttering.  Visit their website for more information and activities to celebrate National Stuttering Awareness Week.

World Hand Hygiene Day (May 5, 2021)  Learn more about this annual campaign via the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

National Senior Health Fitness Day ® (May 26, 2021, Spring Event)  The nation’s largest older adult health and wellness event enters its 28th year in 2021.  Please visit fitnessday.com to learn more.

APRIL

National Minority Health Month  This year, the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) focuses on the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on racial and ethnic minority and American Indian and Alaska Native communities.  The theme for 2021 is #VaccineReady.  Please visit their website to learn more.

National Autism Acceptance Month  The Autism Society of America, the nation’s oldest leading grassroots autism organization, recognizes Autism Acceptance Month in April 2021 with its “Celebrate Differences” campaign.  You can learn more about this annual celebration and view further resources and information on autism by visiting their website.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month  The US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Children’s Bureau recognizes 2021 National Child Abuse Prevention Month with the theme Thriving Children and Families: Prevention With Purpose.  Visit their website to learn more and download the Child Abuse Prevention Month Outreach Toolkit.

National Public Health Week (April 5-11, 2021)  The American Public Health Association (APHA) observes the first full week of April every year to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight important issues towards improving our nation’s health.  Visit APHA’s website to view daily themes and fact sheets.

Every Kid Healthy™ Week (April 26-30, 2021)  Every Kid Healthy™ Week is an annual observance created in 2013 to celebrate school health and wellness achievements. Each day during this observance highlights a specific health topic; please visit the Action for Healthy Kids website for more information.

World Health Day (April 7, 2021)  Learn more by visiting the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

MARCH

Brain Injury Awareness Month  The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) leads the nation in observing Brain Injury Awareness Month in March of each year.  Please visit BIAA’s website for information about brain injury and to explore their resources. 

Brain Awareness Week (March 15 – 21, 2021)  Brain Awareness Week began in 1996 and since its founding 25 years ago, has evolved into a global education initiative involving 7,300 partners in 117 countries.  Please visit brainawareness.org to learn more about this work.

National Nutrition Month®  National Nutrition Month® was first created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 1973 as National Nutrition Week and became a month-long observance in 1980.  The theme for 2021 is Personalize Your Plate, which promotes creating nutritious meals to meet individuals’ cultural and personal food preferences.  In addition to this initiative, the eatright.org website contains information about food, health and fitness for all ages, as well as information on food safety.

National Sleep Awareness Month  Visit the Sleep Foundation website for information on sleep health, the science of sleep, and more.

National Sleep Awareness Week (March 14-20, 2021)  The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) launched this campaign in 1998 to raise awareness about the importance of sleep for optimal health and wellbeing.  Read about sleep health topics and more on the NSF website.

FEBRUARY

Black History Month  Mental Health America recognizes Black History Month by highlighting Black and African American contributions to mental health, along with discussing the history of systemic racism in the mental health system for Black communities.  Read and hear Black voices speak on mental health, view resources, and more via the Mental Health America website.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 22 – 26, 2021)  The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders.  Please visit NEDA’s website to learn more and explore their resources.

JANUARY 

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month  In 2010, January was first declared National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.  The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has compiled a list of resources on their website in recognition of this important topic.  Locally, Scarlet Road serves victims of sex trafficking in the Kitsap region.  We invite you to explore their website to learn more about their work.

DECEMBER

The Winter Holiday Season and COVID-19 The winter holidays can be stressful, even during the most joyful times.  The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live our lives, including the ways in which we socialize and celebrate long held traditions with family and friends.  Click here to read an article by Mayo Clinic Staff, which offers tips on coping during the holiday season.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Also referred to as the “winter blues”, this condition can be brought about by the change in seasons and lessened daylight hours.  Visit the Seasonal Affective Disorder webpages at The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Mental Health America to learn more.

NOVEMBER

Native American Heritage Month November is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Mental Health America’s Native and Indigenous Communities and Mental Health webpage shares information and statistics about mental health disparities and challenges Native people face.

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month In 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared November to be National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.  The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America websites each provide a multitude of information and resources regarding Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.

National Family Caregivers Month Visit Mental Health America’s National Family Caregivers Month webpage for information and resources.

The Great American Smokeout – November 19, 2020  For over 40 years, the third Thursday in November has served as an opportunity to learn about smoking cessation and get tips in making a commitment to living a smoke free life.  The American Cancer Society hosts this yearly event – click here to learn more about how you can join thousands in this personal health endeavor.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day – November 23, 2020

Many hands facing upward
Depiction of red COVID-19 virus on blue background
Colorful flowers, shining sun, autumn leaves, winter ice and snow

The onset of major mental illness may occur as early as 7 to 11 years old.