Every year, millions of people and families are affected by mental illness. 1 in 5 U.S. adults and 1 in 6 U.S. youth experience mental illness each year. Each May, the U.S. observes Mental Health Awareness Month with the goal of ending stigma, educating the public, and providing support to individuals impacted by mental illness. Mental Health Awareness Month was created originally by nonprofits, and today the work of nonprofits to address mental illness in our communities is more important than ever. Here are just a few of the many organizations that deserve your support this month, and all year-round.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has become the nation's leading voice on mental health. Today, they are an alliance of more than 600 local Affiliates and 49 State Organizations who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.
Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, high-quality text-based mental health support and crisis intervention by empowering a community of trained volunteers to support people in their moments of need. Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime. Crisis Text Line is here for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from our secure online platform. The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment.
With Hope Foundation
With Hope Foundation annually provides highly successful educational programs on Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention to over 10,000 students, parents, teachers, staff, and community members. Their programs are designed to educate, equip and empower individuals in recognizing the warning signs of suicide and to provide them with resources for critical lifesaving intervention. Additionally, they provide grief support through their Friends With Hope Suicide Bereavement Support Group. They provide individual counseling resources and referrals for individuals dealing with the traumatic loss of a loved one to suicide who are at an increased risk for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and suicide.
The Jed Foundation
The Jed Foundation (JED) is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults, giving them the skills and support they need to thrive today, and tomorrow. Supporting and protecting mental health during the challenging transition from the teenage years to adulthood requires a comprehensive approach that addresses all the factors that can impact how we think, feel and perceive the world around us. JED’s portfolio of programs is designed to target all of these areas, making it most likely we can change lives, save lives and help young people thrive.
Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation
Named in honor of Boris Lawrence Henson, father of founder Taraji P. Henson, who suffered mental health challenges without resources or support, the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation exists to both normalize and improve access to mental health services for Black communities in hopes of eradicating the stigma around seeking help and support.
Honor Connor is a nonprofit that exists to provide hope & healing to those whose loved ones have died by suicide. Their mission is to provide hope and healing, and to stop the stigma and start the conversation around mental health, addiction and suicide prevention. We offer free mental health education for community groups, faith based groups, schools, and businesses who want to educate on suicide loss. They also provide opportunities for all of us to have deeper conversations with each other to help eliminate the stigma around mental health which ultimately leads to less suicide loss.
Lieber Institute for Brain Development Maltz Research Laboratories (LIBD/MRL)
According to the World Health Organization, four of the ten most disabling diseases of world societies are psychiatric. These diseases represent an enormous economic burden but, more importantly, they involve great personal cost for affected individuals and their families. Treatments for mental disorders are inadequate in most cases and prevention is largely nonexistent.
The Lieber Institute for Brain Development Maltz Research Laboratories (LIBD/MRL) was conceived from the realization that a new approach is needed to fully exploit the unprecedented opportunities to accomplish the critical goal of helping affected individuals and their families. The LIBD/MRL aims to transform the research landscape in two ways: by providing new tools for scientific discovery in the fields of neurobiology, pharmacology, genetics, and neuroscience and by developing new collaborative approaches to achieve our ambitious mission.
Willow Center for Grieving Children provides support to children, teens and their families who are grieving the death of a loved one. The program is coordinated by behavioral health professionals and trained volunteers to promote the expression & understanding of grief and loss while decreasing feelings of isolation. Based in Lewiston, ID, Willow Center serves the Lewis-Clark Valley region including Pullman, Orofino, Cottonwood, and Riggins. Willow Center is the only organization between Boise and Spokane that is dedicated to serving the needs of grieving children, teens and their families in a free-of-charge, on-going, open-ended, support group format.
Rates of PTSD, suicide, and other lingering effects among military veterans are so alarming that the matter has been classified as a National Health Crisis by the VA and CDC. Operation Surf's mission is to channel the healing powers of the ocean to restore hope, renew purpose, and revitalize community. Their curriculum-based programs aim to inspire injured military and veterans to seek wellness in all aspects of their lives while providing the necessary resources, tools, and peer-to-peer support to continue this mindset indefinitely. By staying true to their core values of care, inclusion, commitment, integrity, and communication; we change participants’ lives – one wave at a time.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project’s mission is to end suicide among LGBTQ young people.They provide LGBTQ youth with 24/7 crisis counseling via phone, text, and chat. LGBTQ young people are four times more likely to attempt suicide, and suicide remains the second leading cause of death among all young people in the U.S. They aim to achieve this through our core group of programs, including crisis services, peer support, research, public education, and advocacy.
Mental Health America
Founded in 1909 by Clifford W. Beers, Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. During his stays in public and private institutions, Beers witnessed and was subjected to horrible abuse. From these experiences, Beers set into motion a reform movement that took shape and is known today as Mental Health America.
MHA’s programs and initiatives fulfill its mission of promoting mental health and preventing mental illness through advocacy, education, research and services. MHA’s national office and its 200+ affiliates and associates around the country work every day to protect the rights and dignity of individuals with lived experience and ensure that peers and their voices are integrated into all areas of the organization.
Treatment Advocacy Center
The Treatment Advocacy Center is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness. The organization promotes laws, policies and practices for the delivery of psychiatric care and supports the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Since its founding in 1998, The Treatment Advocacy Center has grown to be a respected, independent voice for reforming treatment laws nationwide.
Holistic Centers Network
The Holistic Centers Network (HCN) provides creative networking opportunities that strengthen communication, connection and collaboration, among holistic centers around the world, and hosts the annual Centers Gathering. For over 35 years HCN has been dedicated to serving holistic education and retreat centers around the world. These centers focus on all aspects of conscious and sustainable living, with the intention to transform our direct experience through a deepening connection with ourselves, each other, nature and the spirit of life.
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN)
The National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN) is a healing justice organization that actively works to transform mental health for queer and trans people of color in North America. Together we build the capacity of QTPoC (queer and trans people of color) mental health practitioners, increase access to healing justice resources, provide technical assistance to social justice movement organizations to integrate healing justice into their work. Our overall goal is to increase access to healing justice resources for QTPoC.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death. AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, including those who have experienced a loss. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health by funding scientific research, educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention, advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention, and supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide