May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Green and white graphic with a green awareness ribbon.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness for and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. Mental health is an aspect of every Texan’s life. With sizable rates of people with developmental disabilities (DD) living with a dual diagnosis of mental illness, the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) is dedicated to expanding information, resources, and support for complex mental health needs. Today is the last day of May, but our work around mental health awareness continues year-round.

TCDD Projects and Initiatives

TCDD supports that all people, regardless of their disability, age, or income level, should have access to affordable, comprehensive health care, including access to mental health care. We also understand the need to expand information and training about mental health for people with DD. The Council aims to address these information and service gaps through our grant-funding initiatives. Our grant projects related to mental health and people with DD include the following.
  • Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute is developing an assessment and practice recommendations for first responders who give care to youth with DD experiencing mental health crises. The project focuses specifically on transition-age youth ages 14-25.
  • Texas Tech University’s Project TEDD (Training Educators in Dual Diagnosis) is providing training workshops for K-12 educators who specialize in teaching students who have dual diagnoses of DD and mental health conditions. Educators who complete the workshops will be able to use their skills and knowledge to help their school districts support students with dual diagnoses.
  • The University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School is creating a comprehensive study of service gaps in mental health care for people with DD in Texas. Through the study, the project will develop a framework to direct future research into mental health care services for people with DD. In addition to the analysis, the project is developing an online resource for mental health care information and referrals for people with DD and service providers.
  • The Arc of Texas’ Whole Person Training is developing a curriculum for mental health care providers who work with people with DD who may also experience mental health conditions. Along with the curriculum, the Arc of Texas has created awareness videos highlighting people with DD and their mental health. These videos aim to spread understanding and reduce stigma.
  • TCDD Policy Fellow Hannah Gill is working with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Texas to track student mental health, insurance coverage for individuals with mental illness, and ways to mitigate mental health workforce shortages. During the 88th Texas legislative session, she worked with legislators and their staff to raise awareness about mental health issues for people with DD.

Mental Health Resources

Mental health awareness is not limited to the month of May. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there are people here to help. Call the Mental Health Hotline at 866-903-3787. This hotline is confidential and free to use. There are people available to speak with you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call 988 to speak with someone immediately. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.

Share Your Story

Sharing a story about your mental health challenges can help in your own recovery as well as offer encouragement and support to others with similar experiences. NAMI wants to know about your experience with mental health. You can learn more about how to share your story on the NAMI website.



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