National Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to remember that your mental health is essential to your overall health
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” Mental health is essential to our overall health, and the importance of attending to mental health has become even more pronounced during the COVID–19 pandemic, which has not only negatively impacted many people’s mental health but has also created barriers to treatment…. Millions of adults and children across America experience mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Nearly one in five Americans lives with a mental health condition. Those living with mental health conditions are our family, friends, classmates, neighbors, and coworkers…. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, H.R. 1319, also included $420 million in funding to support Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics to expand access to high-quality, evidence-based behavioral health services. ”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Data from the Mental Health America 2021 Report on the State of Mental Health Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, poor mental health and mental illness are not the same things. A person can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. Likewise, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of physical, mental, and social well-being.”


Some Recent Laws Enacted Related to Mental Health

Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019 P.L. 116-171, Enacted 10/17/2020, This public law makes updates related to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) transition assistance, mental health care, care for women veterans, and telehealth care.

National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 P.L. 116-172, Enacted 10/17/2020, This public law requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to designate 9-8-8 as the universal telephone number for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline.

Veterans COMPACT Act of 2020, P.L. 116-214, Enacted 12/5/2020,
This public law implements programs, policies, and reports related to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) transition assistance, suicide care, mental health education and treatment, health care, and women veteran care.

Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act of 2020, P.L. 116-281, Enacted 12/31/2020, This public law authorizes the Department of Justice to award grants for states, Native American tribes, local governments, and community-based nonprofit organizations to provide clinical services for people with serious mental illness and substance use disorders who need mental health services upon release from a correctional facility.

Advancing Research to Prevent Suicide Act, P.L. 116-339, Enacted 1/13/2021, This public law directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award competitive, merit-reviewed grants to institutions of higher education (or their consortia) to support multidisciplinary, fundamental research with potential relevance to suicide, including potential relevance to prevention and treatment.

Search govinfo for hearings, and statements in the Congressional Record related to mental health issues.

Additional Resources

MentalHealth.gov “Let’s Talk About It” (HHS NIMH)
Shareable Resources on Coping with COVID-19 (NIH)
Mental Health (CDC)
Well Being Concepts (CDC)
Youth Topics on Mental Health (youth.gov)

About Featured Content Articles – This series of articles aims to highlight content available in govinfo related to various national observances, commemorations, anniversaries and more. See more featured content articles.

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