San Diego Youth Services Recognizes National Mental Health Awareness Month

San Diego Youth Services Recognizes National Mental Health Awareness Month April 30, 2024

By the HERE Now Team, a school-based suicide prevention and early intervention program

As the school year ends, we are recognizing May as National Mental Health Awareness Month. This year’s national Mental Health Awareness Month theme is “Where to Start – Mental Health in a Changing World.” This theme strives to recognize that our world is constantly changing, and life can feel overwhelming at times. While we are so grateful for the increase in mental health support over the past couple of years, starting the journey and knowing where to start can be a challenging first step. This month, we would like to focus on helping ourselves and others use coping skills and resources to navigate difficult times. As individuals that have the privilege of collaborating with the youth we serve, our service partners (SP’s), we have an important role in asking, connecting, and supporting our SP’s with their unique mental health stressors.

Our goal for Mental Health Awareness month is to help fight the stigma, raise awareness, and advocate for individuals living with mental health conditions, specifically the youth we work with.

Nationally, 1 in 6 youth experience a mental health condition each year, and only half of them receive treatment. In addition, 50 percent of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75 percent by age 24. The average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years. The conversations surrounding mental health with the SP’s we collaborate with are so vital and lifegiving! We have such a unique role in helping educate and support mental health for youth and families across San Diego County.

For the month of May, there are several action steps you can take to support Mental Health Awareness Month.

Firstly, we encourage you to wear green on Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on Tuesday, May 7.

Secondly, follow us on social media this month @sdyouthservices as we’ll be posting key statistics and resources that you can share with family and friends to help create awareness.

Lastly, we encourage you to keep having open conversations about mental health and resources for individuals that need support. One way to reduce stigma is by educating ourselves and others about mental health and discussing where to find help!

Below are several resources you can use to help empower yourself to know “Where to Start!”

  • SolunaSoluna is a free downloadable app with confidential support for 13- to 25-year-olds in California. Teens and Transition Aged Youth (15 to 24) can chat 1:1 with a professional coach, use interactive tools to de-stress, or explore quizzes, videos, forums, and more.
  • Mental Health America MHA Month ToolkitMental Health America has a plethora of downloadable and free resources to choose from to fit with your SPs specific needs.

As a suicide prevention program, we strive to highlight the link between mental health disorders and the risk for suicide.

Currently, Suicide is the second leading cause of death between the ages of 10-14 and is the third leading cause of death between the ages of 15-24. While this number is concerning, we also know that 90 percent of those who die by suicide will show warning signs and 70 percent of people will tell someone about their unsafe thoughts. If you notice any of the above warning signs in your SP or in yourself, you can seek support 24/7 from the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. You can also access the San Diego Access and Crisis Line directly at 1 (888) 724-7240 or by texting “HOME” to 741-741.

We also encourage you to prioritize your self-care during Mental Health Awareness Month. This includes utilizing healthy coping skills such as exercise, socializing with loved ones, or journaling.

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