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NASW Tips & Tools for Social Workers: NASW Celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month

Denise Johnson, LCSW-C

Senior Practice Associate for Clinical Social Work

During the month of May, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month. The association recognizes millions of people impacted by mental health conditions in the United States each year. Although mental health conditions are common, research estimates that only half of the people impacted receive treatment.[1],[2] The association also acknowledges the ongoing dedication of social workers who provide mental health services such as crisis intervention, assessment, treatment, and support.

The following resources are available to assist social workers:

Upcoming Event

May 20, 2024 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm ET

This NASW Specialty Practice Section (SPS) webinar will explore essential skills to document clinical encounters to support change and client motivation. Participants will gain an understanding of how documentation supports integration of assessments, treatment planning, and measurement-based care. They will also explore how to accurately document data, assessments, and planning. For more details, visit the Specialty Practice Sections webinar catalog on the NASW website.


This collection of 80 real-world-based clinical vignettes is available at NASW Press and offers a diverse range of clinical counseling cases, covering all the major DSM-5-TR diagnostic categories. Whether you are a social work student, or practicing clinician, this book will help you improve your diagnostic skills, recognize risk factors in the classroom, on licensing exams, and in the field.

In this updated edition, SaraKay Smullens addresses a myriad of challenges that impact the social work profession to include societal burnout while offering strategies for personal and professional growth. Visit NASW Press for more information.

Suicide among the elderly occurs at a higher rate than those of other age cohorts and has the lowest rates of failed attempts. Practitioners must be aware of what leads to elder suicide, as the victims are unlikely to call attention to the matter themselves before they make an attempt. Stephen Marson has spent over 40 years as a practicing social work gerontologist, studying the sociological theories for suicide intervention of elderly clients. Rather than focusing on psychological diagnoses, he uses Emile Durkheim’s theory to identify fatalistic, anomic, egoistic, and altruistic environmental circumstances that create suicide potential. This book is available at NASW Press.

This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issue brief provides information for State Mental Health Authorities (SMHA) about strategies for promoting person-centered planning (PCP) to enhance the quality of behavioral health services and the valued recovery outcomes of those that use them.

The editors of NASW publications have curated a special collection of mental health and social work-related articles from NASW journals. The articles are freely available for a limited time.

The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention is a 10-year comprehensive, whole-of-government approach to suicide prevention and provides concrete recommendations for addressing gaps in the suicide prevention field. For more information, visit the SAMSHA website.

Additional Resources

The 988 Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.

The Military Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource for all service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, and Veterans. Enrollment in VA benefits or healthcare is not required.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental health issues through education, advocacy and support.

NIMH is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. It is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest biomedical research agency in the world. 

SAMHSA is an agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's practitioner training offers tools, training, and technical assistance to practitioners in the fields of mental health and substance use disorders.

The Trevor Project is the leading suicide prevention and crisis intervention nonprofit organization for LGBTQ+ young people. They provide information and support to LGBTQ+ young people 24/7, all year round.

The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,321 health care facilities, including 172 medical centers and 1,138 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year.


[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Mental Health Information: Statistics. National Institute of Mental Health.

[2] Mental Health Awareness Month Toolkit: Take the Movement . NAMI. (2024, April 10). 

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