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.

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

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 focus is on “What People with Mental Illness Want You to Know.”

World Mental Health Day  This year’s World Mental Health Day, on 10 October, comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase.

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 15 – October 15: Hispanic Heritage Month  2020 focus is on raising awareness about the health disparities impacting the Hispanic/Latino community and promoting physical activity, healthy nutrition and regular doctor visits to help improve overall health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. Now in its 31st year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those living in recovery.

After 30 years of sponsoring National Recovery Month, SAMHSA is turning the reins over to the recovery community. This September, Faces & Voices of Recovery, as a stakeholder and active member of this community, will host a new website that will serve as the central location for all recovery events.

September Pain Awareness Month The month of September has been declared Pain Awareness Month. Pain Awareness Month is a time when various organizations work to raise public awareness of issues in the area of pain and pain management. 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            
Mental Health America offers a free toolkit for July 2020 BIPOC Mental Health Month!  You can fill out a form to receive the downloadable toolkit here.  Resources include links to updated information on their website:

  • Lists of resources specifically for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities;
  • Handouts on racism and mental health and racial trauma;
  • An infographic built from MHA screening data on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ mental health;
  • A Call to Action for people to share how discrimination and/or racism have affected their mental health using the hashtag #ImpactofTrauma;
  • And more!

MAY: Mental Health America’s “May is Mental Health Month” theme focuses on Tools2Thrive, providing practical tools to improve mental health and increase resiliency regardless of the situations a person is dealing with, and are adaptable to the current COVID-19 environment and social distancing.

APRIL: National Minority Health Month
Click here for information or download the toolkit.

Many people with mental illness also struggle with substance use. We treat both.