May is Mental Health Awareness Month, when communities throughout the US and Canada hold events and publish information focused on mental health.

During May, there will be a great deal of news coverage and social media interaction around mental health topics, with audiences in the millions. Thus, by participating in spreading the word about mental health, you will likely reach more people than at other times of year.

To make it easy for you, many organizations and agencies have prepared professionally designed content ready for you to use during Mental Health Awareness month, and throughout the year. For example:

Mental Health America has a free, downloadable toolkit with outreach ideas, fact sheets, sample social media posts, images, and dozens of links to resources.This year's theme: Where to start 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides free graphics and guidance in helping the public better understand and deal with mental health problems. They also offer free educational programs for those with mental illness and their families. 

NIH offers a Digital Toolkit for mental health awareness, with prewritten text, infographics, and videos. The content is free of copyright, and thus legal to simply copy/paste onto social media and your website.

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing toolkit has free graphics and other resources, as well as actionable steps for advocating to increased access to mental health treatment nationwide.

Also, check with your national and regional professional association for additional ideas and opportunities to educate the public about mental health.

Find content-specific resources

If you prefer to focus on a specific aspect of mental health during Mental Health Month, you can find resources by searching Google using the following syntax:

"mental health month" your keyword site:org


"mental health month" lgbtq site:org
"mental health month" addiction site:org
"mental health month" divorce site:org
The above syntax instructs Google to retrieve information from websites ending in .org, most of which are non-profit associations and organizations.

You can also use site:edu or site:gov in your search to retrieve content from universities and government websites, respectively.

How to spread the word about mental health

1. Contact your local news media.

During May, news reporters will be assigned to interview mental health professionals. A simple email or phone call to your local news station could get you featured on the evening news and on the station's website.

Rather than telling them that you can talk about many issues related to mental health during Mental Health Month, pitch a specific story idea to them. For example:

  • The difference between feeling down and being depressed
  • How to talk to a loved one about getting help for a mental health problem
  • How pets contribute to emotional well-being
  • Why friends are important for your mental health

2. Post infographics and other images from the organizations above on your website or blog.

You can also embed videos related to a given topic. If an embed code is available for a video, that means the owner has given permission for it to be streamed through your and other people's websites and social media.

3. Curate relevant links on social media.

With your knowledge and experience, you can spot high-quality news items, videos and articles on mental health topics, including some of the above. Post excerpts or links to them on your social media accounts, thus providing a curated collection for your followers.

Follow and use these hashtags in posting links and other helpful information: #mentalhealth, #mentalhealthawareness, #MentalHealthMonth. Other popular hashtags here.

4. Participate in legislative advocacy to help improve access to mental health services.

Many professional organizations have lobbying and/or advocacy activities, and they need help in educating legislators on how mental health services can reduce the overall cost of healthcare and provide additional benefits to the community.

Check to see what your professional associations are doing, and offer to get involved.

Learn more ways to participate in advocacy at the National Council for Mental Wellbeing website.