Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month webpage banner with green graphic of hands holding a green ribbon

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

In partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, PWCS recognizes May as Mental Health Awareness Month. This year's message is "More Than Enough," emphasizing that all people–with and without mental health challenges–are worthy of respect, inclusion, and care. Our school division and community strives to reduce the mental health stigma and provide education and resources to support everyone’s journey toward wellness. Prioritizing mental health from childhood through adulthood is essential in maintaining a healthy, balanced life. Each week in May will highlight mental health initiatives empowering our community to feel a sense of inclusion, support, and encouragement.

During the week of May 15–19,
families are invited to join schools in celebrating the following themes:


Mindful Monday: Maintaining awareness of your thoughts and feelings–mentally and physically.

Tuneful Tuesday: Music can be a tool that helps boost our mood! We can also “tune” into the feelings of those around us.  

Wellness Wednesday: Wellness is the act of practicing healthy habits daily to attain better physical and mental health.

Mental Health Action Thursday: Take action to raise awareness about mental health by wearing green!

Fun Friday: Prioritizing the things that make you happy and fill and your cup.

#MentalHealthMonth, #MHM, #MoreThanEnough

photo of a girl sitting and leaning against wallFast Facts

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience a serious mental illness each year
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6–17 experience a mental health disorder each year
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10–14
  • People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population
  • High school students with significant symptoms of depression are more than twice as likely to drop out compared to their peers
  • 1 in 5 young people report that the pandemic had a significant negative impact on their mental health.
  • Students aged 6-17 with mental, emotional or behavioral concerns are 3x more likely to repeat a grade.

Retrieved from National Alliance on Mental Health
Source: Data from CDC, NIMH and other select sources.
Find citations at


Mental Health Awareness Events

Forest Park High School students with Suicide Awareness Walk sign
Man walking silhouette and text 5K
NAMI-Northern Virginia Logo
Forest Park High School
"Suicide Awareness Walk"
3rd Annual
PWC 5K Walk for
Mental Health Awareness
2023 NAMI Virginia
Mental Health Conference and Youth Summit
  • Date: May 6, 2023
  • Time: 8:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Location: Forest Park High School
  • FREE–No registration required.
  • Date: May 13, 2023
  • Time: 10 a.m - 2 p.m.
  • Location: Locust Shade Park–4701 Locust Shade Dr., Triangle, VA 22172
  • Date: June 29-30, 2023
  • Location: Chesapeake, VA

Parent Resources



of Mental Illness

"Having a mental illness can make it challenging to live everyday life and maintain recovery. Let’s look at some of the ways mental illness can impact lives — and how the impact can ripple out. 
"~ National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) ~


Getting Started with Mental Health Treatment: What You Need to Know

by Heather Moul, LCSW, School Social Worker, PWCS

I think I (or my child) would like to talk to someone. What should I know? What do I do next? How do I find a therapist? Who are therapists and what do they do?

If you have private insurance, call your insurance company and check for your Behavioral Health Benefits. Most people assume their medical benefits are the same as their behavioral health benefits but often they are not. Most solo or group mental health practices DO NOT check your benefits like a medical practice. Therefore, if the solo/group practice files a claim and it gets rejected you may be responsible for the full rate (self-pay or out of cost pocket) cost.

Here is what to ask your insurance company about your behavioral health benefits:

  • Do you have a deductible?
  • Do you have a co-pay?
  • Do I need a referral?
  • Is your plan a calendar or contract year? How many sessions do I have?
  • Do I have EAP (Employee Assistance Program) benefits?

If you do not have mental health benefits or have no insurance, you still have options. Contact the Community Services Board (CSB) or your local church, as some pastors provide pastoral counseling. Most mental health therapists also take self-pay, charge on sliding scale or pro bono. Another option is to contact a mental health practice and ask if they have interns on staff who charge lower fees.

What are the different types of therapists who can diagnose and provide treatment for mental health disorders?

  • LCSW – Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • LPC – Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Psychiatrists (MDs) – diagnose mental health disorders, prescribe medication, medication reviews and may also provide therapy.
  • Licensed Clinical Psychologists – diagnose mental health disorders using instruments (tests), provide an extensive written psychological evaluation and may also provide therapy.


The Shape of Youth Mental Health:

Finding a way back from sadness and stress for Northern Virginia's teens

This report (Hughes,2023) discusses the mental health needs of Northern Virginia’s youth, which have only increased since 2020. The 2022 Virginia School Survey of Climate and Working conditions shows that one in ten high school students have seriously contemplated suicide in the past year, while one in three have symptoms of recent clinical anxiety.

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia

Cover of report titled - The shape of youth mental health - finding a way back from sadness and stress for Northern Virginia's teens - published by The Community Foundation of Northern Virginia

Toolkits for Schools

Resources to Support the Mental Health of Teachers and School Staff

Webinars and Videos

10 Common Warning Signs of a Mental Health Condition
~National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)~
(YouTube Video)


Being More Intentional About Our Mental Health
~Mental Health America (MHA)~
(YouTube Video)


Engaging Youth in Safe Online Spaces to Address Mental Health Concerns
~Mental Health America (MHA)~
(YouTube Video)


Parent Learning Series Presentations
Focus On Mental Health  

Where to Get Help

Where to Get Help

  • Reach out to your health insurance, primary care doctor or state/county mental health authority for more resources.
  • Talk with your employer about their Employee Assistance Program (EAP). These programs typically extend coverage to your immediate family members including children.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Prince William Chapter, offers free support groups.
    • NAMI Family Support Groups - NAMI Family Support Groups are free, confidential and safe groups of families helping other families who live with mental health challenges by utilizing their collective lived experiences and learned group wisdom.
    • NAMI Connection - NAMI Connection is a weekly recovery support group for people living with mental illness in which people learn from each others’ experiences, share coping strategies, and offer each other encouragement and understanding.
  • 988 - Suicide & Crisis Lifeline - Dial or text 988 if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health crisis and get connected to a trained crisis counselor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Crisis counselors listen empathetically and without judgment. Your crisis counselor will work to ensure that you feel safe and help identify options and information about mental health services in your area.
  • Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741-741 - Connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline – Call 800-799-SAFE (7233) - Trained expert advocates are available 24/7 to provide confidential support to anyone experiencing domestic violence or seeking resources and information. Help is available in Spanish and other languages.
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline – Call 800-656-HOPE (4673) - Connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area that offers access to a range of free services. Crisis chat support is available.
Spotlight on School and Student Wellness