Each May, we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month! This recognition provides us with an occasion to highlight the importance of mental health care, celebrate those in recovery, and encourage people to pay attention to their mental health and seek help when they need it. Mental health care is part of all of our lives, whether that means taking time to attend to our mental health, supporting a friend or family member in seeking treatment, or receiving support and guidance from peer support specialists. Giving and receiving help from our friends, family, and community is critical to fostering positive mental health.

To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, we are sharing resources from our projects that highlight the importance of community and support—from the formal (e.g., embedding peer support specialists into systems-level work) to the informal (sharing an uplifting message with a friend).

Formal Supports

Peer Support Specialists: A Critical Component for SOAR Programs [Webinar]

In this webinar hosted by the SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center, panelists with lived experience of recovery from mental and substance use conditions and homelessness shared how they have incorporated their lived expertise into their SOAR work. Attendees learned about peer support services—an evidence-based model of care—and how peer support is highly effective within SOAR initiatives throughout the country.

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Peer-Led Innovations in Reentry Support Programming: Towards Holistic Recovery [Webinar]

This webinar from SAMHSA’s GAINS Center explored structural supports for reentry peer specialists and reentry peer support programs, including certification, training, and resources needed to effectively serve people in transition from incarceration to the community. The presenters discussed opportunities that come with training and education, and the policy and practice challenges that can arise when supporting people in recovery who are transitioning back to the community, including peer support specialists themselves.

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Informal Supports

Share That You Care Image Pack and Animation Set [Icons & GIFs]

These images and animations are a colorful way to celebrate the recipient for caring for their mental health. The messages are “You are strong,” “You got this,” and “Proud of you for taking care of you!” Share these supportive messages with a friend, colleague, or loved one in an email, a text, or a social media message to let them know that you’re thinking of them and are proud of them for taking care of their mental health!

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Mindful Breathing for Stress Management [Videos]

Whether you are experiencing occasional stress, chronic stress, and/or secondary traumatic stress, mindful breathing is a simple way you can incorporate relaxation and a sense of grounding throughout your day. These three breathing exercises (Square Breathing, Diaphragmatic Breathing, and Progressive Muscle Relaxation) by the Homeless and Housing Resource Center can help alleviate symptoms caused by stress, such as increased heart rate, muscle tension, fast breathing, and high blood pressure.

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