May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. As National Community Action Partnership (NCAP) notes, equitable access to mental health services and supports is vital to effectively address both “the causes and conditions of poverty.” In its latest policy brief released on May 12, NCAP further explains that Americans “living with low-incomes are not only disproportionately exposed to conditions that lead to poor mental health outcomes, but they also face greater barriers to care, including cost, access, and stigma.” Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has only made things worse as now at least one in every five American adults reports struggling with a mental health issue. And, ratios are significantly higher for youth, women, those that identify as multi-racial, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, immigrants and refugees, veterans, and incarcerated individuals.
NCAP’s Mental Health Policy Brief, which can be accessed here, highlights a multitude of mental health support tools, including resources from NAMI, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, SAMSHA, the Office of Head Start, and the National Council of Nonprofits. The brief also features comprehensive information on clinical best practices, the latest data and research, continuing barriers to access, and proposed legislation to remove these barriers and increase equity in America’s mental healthcare system.
NCAP has also created a dedicated webpage around Mental Health Awareness Month. This site includes sample social media messages, a policy platform, organized outreach initiatives, additional opportunities to engage around this issue during the month of May and beyond, and links to other mental health organizations, including Mental Health America’s Mental Health Action Day, slated for this Thursday, May 19, 2022.