HHS Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month

November 23, 2021

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and HHS is providing a variety of opportunities and resources to raise awareness about mental health issues.

To kick off the monthlong celebration, HHS and the Texas System of Care will host a free, family-friendly virtual event, which launched on Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on May 3.

With the theme “Staying Connected: Plugged into Children’s Mental Health,” the website features videos from keynote speakers, HHSC leadership, and youth and family members who have personal experience with mental health issues. It also provides behavioral health resources and children’s activities for families.

“Mental health impacts everyone in Texas, and mental health is everyone’s business,” said Sonja Gaines, deputy executive commissioner of HHSC Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Behavioral Health Services. “Being able to recognize a mental health issue in another person can mean the difference between punishment and compassion, condemnation and empathy, or alienation and connection. Those who experience mental illness should not be ostracized nor ignored.”

Throughout May, HHS will post behavioral health messages on our social media pages to promote self-care, share behavioral health data and provide education on behavioral health challenges.

Mental Health First Aid training introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health and substance use concerns, builds understanding of their impact and gives an overview of common treatments.

Both adult and youth versions of the course are intended for participants ages 18 and older. If you are a state employee who would like to take an MHFA course, email Mental Health First Aid to be added to the interest list, and MHFA team members will reach out as classes become available.

The HHS Suicide Prevention Team offers trainings to introduce participants to suicide risk and how to help individuals experiencing a suicide crisis. Trainings include:

  • Suicide Prevention 101: This one-hour training provides a basic overview of suicide risk factors, warning signs, protective factors and how to link individuals to help.
  • Ask About Suicide (ASK) to Save a Life: This two-hour training provides an overview of the basic epidemiology of suicide and suicidal behavior, including risk and protective factors.

If you are interested in receiving any of these trainings for yourself or your department, email the Suicide Prevention Team.

The Mental Health Wellness for Individuals with IDD online training modules are available to a variety of people including healthcare professionals, support providers and caregivers who support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and behavioral health needs.

To register for the trainings, visit the MHW-IDD website.

The 2021 Texas Mental Health Creative Arts Contest Virtual Reception will end the month of awareness activities on May 26 from 4–6 p.m.

The reception will feature:

  • Remarks from HHS leadership.
  • Digital slideshow of the winning artwork.
  • Panel of artists discussing their artwork and writing and inspiration.
  • Q&A session with the artists.

To register for the reception, visit the GoToWebinar webpage.

For more information on mental health awareness, visit the Mental Health Texas website.

For questions, email Lilly Nguyen.