Mental Health Awareness Month banner

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a national observance started in 1949 by Mental Health America to bring attention to the importance of mental wellbeing. Across the country, individuals and organizations step up to raise awareness of and help address the challenges faced by people living with mental health conditions.

Despite recent strides in how our society approaches mental wellbeing, many Americans still don’t have access to the high-quality, comprehensive treatment and care they need. Just take a look at some of the staggering data about mental health in the United States:

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
  • Only 47.2% of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment in 2021.
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year.
  • Only 65.4% of U.S. adults with serious mental illness received treatment in 2021.
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth have a mental health condition, but only half receive treatment.
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.

Please see the following newly released student and staff mental health infographics from the 2022-23 California School Climate, Health, and Learning Surveys (CalSCHLS):

Student Perspectives

Youth Mental Health Needs & Supports: Elementary Student Perspectives

Youth Mental Health Needs & Supports: Secondary Student Perspective

Staff Perspectives:

Youth Mental Health Needs & Supports: California School Staff Perspectives

Mental Health Awareness Month Resources

National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)

National Institute on Mental Health (NIH) Digital Toolkit

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Mental Health Awareness Toolkit

 

Help is out there, and hope is possible. Here are some free resources to lean on if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health and/or substance use crisis:

 
Mental Health

The Comprehensive Health and Prevention Program (CHPP) provides resources and trainings around mental health, which include suicide alertness, honoring LGBTQ+ identities, counselor’s collaboratives, and brief interventions.

 

The Mental Health Resources provided are to give you the necessary tools to assist students in navigating through difficult times. Some of these resources can even be useful for adults. All it takes is one person in a student’s life to make a difference. Please click here for a mental health teen guide with helpful apps, text lines, and self-care strategies. 

 

AB 748 – Mental Health Assistance Posters and Templates
(AB748 adds Section 49428.5 to the Education Code)
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB748&showamends=false

AB 748 requires that on or before the start of the 2023-2024 school year, each school site in a school district, county office of education, and charter school serving pupils in any of grades 6 to 12, create a poster that identifies approaches and shares resources regarding pupil mental health.

  • On or before the start of the 2023-24 school year, each school site in a school district, county office of education, or charter school, serving pupils in any of grades 6 to 12, inclusive, shall create a poster that identifies approaches and shares resources regarding pupil mental health.
  • The school site may partner with pupils enrolled at that school site, local, state, or federal agencies, or nonprofit organizations, for purposes of the design and content of the poster.
  • The language in the poster shall be age appropriate and culturally relevant, and the school site may partner with pupils enrolled at that school site, local, state, or federal agencies, or nonprofit organizations, for these purposes.
  • DThe poster shall be displayed in English and any primary language spoken by 15 percent or more of the pupils enrolled at the school site as determined pursuant to Section 48985.
  • EThe poster shall be no smaller than 8.5 by 11 inches and use at least 12-point font.
  • The poster must display at a minimum the following:
    • Identification of common behaviors of those struggling with mental health or who are in a mental health crisis, including, but not limited to, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, emotional dysregulation, bipolar episodes, and schizophrenic episodes.
    • A list of, and contact information for, school site-specific resources, including, but not limited to, counselors, wellness centers, and peer counselors.
    • A list of, and contact information for, community resources, including, but not limited to, suicide prevention, substance abuse, child crisis, nonpolice mental health hotlines, public behavioral health services, and community mental health centers.
    • A list of positive coping strategies to use when dealing with mental health, including, but not limited to, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, breathing exercises, grounding skills, journaling, acceptance, and seeking therapy.
    • A list of negative coping strategies to avoid, including, but not limited to, substance abuse or self-medication, violence, abuse, self-harm, compulsivity, dissociation, catastrophizing, and isolating.
  • Commencing with the 2023-24 school year, the poster shall be prominently and conspicuously displayed in appropriate public areas that are accessible to, and commonly frequented by, pupils at each school site.
  • The governing board of a school district, governing body of a charter school, and the county board of education shall have full discretion to select additional appropriate public areas that are accessible to, and commonly frequented by, pupils to display the poster at the school site. These areas may include but are not limited to, bathrooms, locker rooms, classrooms, classroom hallways, gymnasiums, auditoriums, cafeterias, wellness centers, and offices.
  • The poster shall be digitized and distributed online to pupils through social media, internet websites, portals, and learning platforms at the beginning of each school year.
  • To assist school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools in developing policies for pupil suicide prevention, the department shall develop and maintain a model poster, in collaboration with mental health experts, pupils, and administrators, in accordance with this section to serve as a guide for school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools.
  • No basis for civil liability is created by this section for any school district, county office of education, or charter school serving pupils in any of grades 6 to 12, inclusive.

The Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE) has created posters and templates for your district to utilize. Please visit the following Canva links to access and revise templates to meet the needs of your district and/or school site.

InstructionsPlease click the link, in Canva, go to “File” and then “Make a Copy.” Once you have made your own copy, you can revise it to add the information mentioned above to the guidelines and click “Share” to download your revised poster.

 

Click here for a list of Workshop Handouts and for School-Based Crisis Team Guidelines

 

For more information, or if you have any questions, feel free to locate your preferred contact on the Comprehensive Health & Prevention Programs contact page here.

Last revised December 28, 2023.