Webpage banner with green ribbon and text- May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

As we reflect on the past year, and how much our PWCS community has overcome, it's important to pause, and take time to reflect on how resilient we are. Our mental health is and incredibly important part of our overall health, and critical in our ability to support our families, work effectively, participate in school, and contribute to society in meaningful ways.

In partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), PWCS recognizes May as Mental Health Awareness Month. This year's message is "Together for Mental Health," and our focus is to bring our voices together to advocate for mental health and access to care.

Photo collage showing Hylton high school students participating in participating in Between the Bells activity, to highlight the importance of mental health wellness

Hylton High School Participates in Between the Bells

Mental health awareness is critical in supporting our students, families, staff, and communities. It takes a community to come together in meaningful ways to spotlight this awareness and general mental health wellness. Over the past month, PWCS highlighted Mental Health Awareness Month through a community expo, school-sponsored awareness walks, and fairs.

As this year's Mental Health Awareness Month comes to end, PWCS is sharing an event Hylton High School organized in early May called Between the Bells, an interactive program designed by To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), for high school students to spark authentic conversations about mental health and to remind those who are struggling that they are not alone. Through an anonymous survey, students revealed that anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts were the most common mental health concerns they are struggling with and counselors were present during lunch shifts throughout the week to provide students with valuable resources available to them in the area and nationwide.

The most impactful activity was the Response Wall. Students used sticky notes to share their feelings by writing what they wanted to say and hear. The wall grew over four days as students, faculty, and staff shared what they wished to say and/or hear. The notes were filled with emotion and brought many to tears. Coles District School board member, Lisa Zargapur, visited and was available during lunches to listen to students. The program was eye-opening for the school community and Hylton plans to use the data to collect further develop targeted counseling programming for students next year.

Fast Facts

Girl sitting against a tree with head in hands
  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, and less than half of them receive treatment.
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience a serious mental illness each year, and less than two-thirds of them receive treatment.
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth experience a mental health condition each year, and only half of them receive treatment.
  • 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 10-34
  • The average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years.
  • 55% of U.S. counties do not have a single practicing psychiatrist.
  • 1 in 5 young people report that the pandemic had a significant negative impact on their mental health.
  • 1 in 10 young people under age 18 experience a mental health condition following a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • In 2020, there was a 31% increase in mental health-related emergency department visits among U.S. adolescents.
  • Three quarters of Americans (75%) say they are not content with the state of mental health treatment in this country. That is particularly true if they are diagnosed with a mental health condition (84%).
  • 60% of Americans are concerned about the stigma around mental illness.
  • Less than half (49%) of Americans consider themselves familiar with the U.S. mental health care system.
Retrieved from National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)
Source: Data from CDC, NIMH and other select sources.
Find citations at nami.org/mhstats

Parent Resources

Resolution

RESOLUTION

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
MAY 2022

WHEREAS, mental health is part of overall health; and

WHEREAS, mental health sustains individual's thought processes, relationships, productivity, and
ability to adapt to change; and

WHEREAS, 1 in 5 U.S. adults, and 1 in 6 U.S. youth, experience mental illness each year, and
less than half of them receive treatment; and

WHEREAS, 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24; and

WHEREAS, the average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11
years; and

WHEREAS, 1 in 5 young people report that the pandemic had a significant negative impact on
their mental health; and

WHEREAS, in 2020, there was a 31% increase in mental health-related emergency department
visits among U.S. adolescents; and

WHEREAS, early identification and treatment can make a difference in successful management
of mental illness and recovery; and

WHEREAS, it is important to maintain mental health and to recognize the symptoms of mental
illness and seek help when it is needed; and

WHEREAS, every citizen and community can help end the silence and stigma surrounding
mental illness; and

WHEREAS, through public education and civic activities, Virginia remains engaged in the promise
to address the challenges facing people with mental illness; and

WHEREAS, Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportunity to work to increase public
understanding of the importance of mental health and to promote the identification and treatment
of mental illness; and

WHEREAS, Prince William County Public Schools wishes to enhance public awareness of mental
health for our youth and adults;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Prince William County School Board and the Superintendent of Schools recognize May 2022 as "Mental Health Awareness Month"
embracing the theme of "Together for Mental Health," to enhance public awareness of mental health to help end the stigma.

Approved by unanimous consent by the Prince William County School Board on May 4, 2022

Resources to Support the Mental Health of Teachers and School Staff

Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers Podcast- Weekly podcasts providing encouragement and inspiration for teachers. Ranks in the top three K-12 podcasts in the world.-The Cornerstone for Teachers.

Care for the Caregiver: Guidelines for Administrators and Crisis Teams-National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

Employee Benefits-PWCS, in coordination with our Employee Assistance Program ComPsych Guidance Resources, offers workshops and toolkits for enhanced wellbeing. May's offerings are mental health-based and June's are focused on summer fun. For links and webinar registration, visit the Employee Benefits page.

Teacher Mental Health Tips You Can't Afford to Ignore-Teach Starter

The Educator's Room Presents: The Teacher Self-Care Podcast-Anchor by Spotify.

Why Teacher Self-Care Matters and How to Practice Self-Care in Your School-Waterford.org.

Webinars

HUD/SAMHSA: National Mental Health Awareness Month Webinar Series

May 4, 11, 18 & 25

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Public and Indian Housing and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) will present a series of free webinars this May to celebrate National Mental Health Awareness Month. Webinars will take place each Wednesday and will feature leading mental health professionals from SAMHSA and HUD, as well as practitioners from their respective communities. Events include:

Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at 1 p.m.
Mental Health 10: Overview of Mental Health Issues in the Modern World

Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at 1 p.m.
988 is Not a Joke: National Suicide Prevention Hotline Launch to 988-What's on the Horizon

Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at 2 p.m.
Get Help-Reducing Stigma Associated with Mental Health

Wednesday, May 25, 2022, at 2 p.m.
Now What - Mental Health Issues in Post COVID America


Increasing Mental Health Awareness Through Community Outreach-Mental Health America (YouTube video)


Owning Your Feelings & Moving Through Emotional Discomfort-Mental Health America (YouTube video)