Benefits.gov spotlights Mental Health Awareness Month
May was designated National Mental Health Awareness Month in 1949 by the United States Congress due to the increased number of Veterans suffering from mental health illness after returning from World War II combat. Mental health issues affect many in our country, regardless of military experience, and the Federal government recognizes the importance of helping to educate and treat those citizens who are living with mental health issues. If you have any specific questions regarding mental health issues, make sure you check out The National Institute of Mental Health's webpage that has lots of information on a variety of mental health issues.

Within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) "exists to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities". SAMHSA does its part to raise awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues by observing National Prevention Week from May 12 to May 18. National Prevention Week focuses on how an individual's choices can have an impact on their own life and how that can influence other life decisions.

Benefits.gov wants you to know that we are here to assist you or your loved ones in your search for mental health services. Here are just a few programs housed on Benefits.gov that may help:

Community Mental Health Services Block Grant: This grant is dedicated to improving public mental health service systems across the country. The purpose of the grant is to help build and support the community-based public mental health system for adults with serious mental illness (SMI) and children with severe emotional disturbance (SED). In order to qualify for this benefit program, you or your family/household members must be facing a mental illness.

Mental Health Services: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides general inpatient psychiatric services as well as mental health outpatient services. Many of these services are being integrated into primary care clinics, VA nursing homes, and residential care facilities where veterans receive mental health care. Veterans with serious mental illness are seen at all facilities and clinics where specialized programs, such as mental health intensive case management, day centers, work programs and psychosocial rehabilitation are provided.

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness: The Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Program (PAIMI) is administered by SAMHSA and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). P&A systems use the grant funds to investigate incidents of abuse and neglect on behalf of individuals with mental illness in a public or private facility rendering care or treatment. These grants also insure laws are followed and that victims have the proper avenues to pursue legal avenues.

To view a list of 99 healthcare related benefits on Benefits.gov, visit the "Browse by Category" page and select "Healthcare". To find out if you are eligible for these or any of the over 1,000 benefits on our site, click "Start Now" on the homepage to use our confidential Benefit Finder.