Awareness Day 2016

Awareness Day 2016 was on Thursday, May 5.

Awareness Day 2016: “Finding Help, Finding Hope,” focused on strategies for improving access to community-based behavioral health services for children, youth, and young adults with mental and/or substance use disorders and their families. Communities, national collaborating organizations, and federal programs organized local Awareness Day activities and events around the country.

SAMHSA’s Awareness Day event took place on Thursday, May 5, at 7 p.m. EDT at The George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium in Washington, DC.

The highly interactive format featured youth and family leaders, public educators, law enforcement officials, and behavioral health professionals discussing how communities can work together to improve access to behavioral health services and supports for children, youth, and youth adults. SAMHSA presented a Special Recognition Award to 2016’s Honorary Chairperson, Reid Ewing—best known for his role as Dylan on “Modern Family”—for his efforts to promote openness and educate others about mental health.

Organizations and individuals from communities around the country also shared insights on strategies for overcoming barriers to behavioral health care access. Viewers around the country watched a live webcast of the event. Many of them submitted questions to the event’s guest panelists via social media and a web portal. Watch the on-demand webcast (1 hour, 38 minutes) of SAMHSA’s event to hear remarks and panel discussions.

Additional Background Information:

Awareness Day 2016 Video Shorts

The Awareness Day 2016 video shorts are excerpts from SAMHSA’s Awareness Day 2016 national event webcast. The videos can also be used in discussions about improving access to mental health services for children, youth, and young adults.

The following shorts and conversation starters are available:


Use the Awareness Day 2016 Video Short: Education (10 minutes, 4 seconds) to start conversations about how systems of care and school systems can work together to help students access mental health supports.

Intended audiences for this video include:

  • Families and caregivers. The video gives examples of how families and caregivers can work with school systems.
  • Youth. Youth can discuss how schools interact with students who have behavioral health challenges and ways to make school-based mental health services more youth-driven.
  • School policy decision makers. The video introduces the idea of partnerships with school systems and school administrators.
  • School staff members. Teachers, counselors, and other staff members can learn how to identify students who may need help.

Family Support

Use the Awareness Day 2016 Video Short: Family Support (8 minutes, 8 seconds) to start conversations about improving access to services and supports in your community. Your community could use the video as an opportunity to share information about children’s behavioral health services and supports in your community.

Suggested audiences for this video include:

  • Families. Include families in your discussion who are new to systems of care, who want to learn about available children’s mental health services, or who are helping to build the new system of care grant community.
  • Potential partners. Examples of these groups include schools, juvenile justice, faith-based organizations, service providers, and local government.

Juvenile Justice

Use the Awareness Day 2016 Video Short: Juvenile Justice (7 minutes, 5 seconds) to start discussions about system of care partnerships and interventions with local juvenile justice systems. This video can also help open lines of communication among youth, families, law enforcement, and other child-serving agencies involved in juvenile justice and youth mental health.

Suggested audiences for this video include:

  • Youth. Youth can share their experiences interacting with law enforcement or juvenile justice in a productive way that can become a catalyst for systems change.
  • Families and caregivers. The video introduces potential intervention and crisis models that can be accessed or implemented through family partnerships with local juvenile justice decision makers.
  • Law enforcement decision makers. Use the video in discussions about the services and interventions available with community supports.
  • Law enforcement and juvenile justice officers. The video gives examples of mental health education and training models, as well as strategies for building partnerships between law enforcement officers and the community.
  • Other child-serving agencies. Schools, social services, and community youth programs can use the video when initiating partnerships with juvenile justice and law enforcement agencies.

Law enforcement interaction may be a sensitive topic in some communities. To help promote respectful and meaningful dialogue on this issue, approach the conversation within the context of your community’s unique experiences and history.

Last Updated: 04/17/2019