This Year’s Lock and Talk Mental Health Awareness Month Theme is “Speak Up for Mental Wellness”

Contact: Jordan Brooks 
Regional Suicide Prevention Coordinator /(540) 292-0013

This Year’s Lock and Talk Mental Health Awareness Month Theme is “Speak Up for Mental Wellness”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (May 1, 2022) – Mental Health Awareness Month acknowledges the nearly 53 million Americans that are living with a mental illness. This year’s Lock and Talk Mental Health Awareness Month theme “Speak Up for Mental Wellness” encourages individuals and communities to start a conversation on the importance of mental wellness.

In Virginia, more than one million adults have a mental health condition. To put it into perspective, that is four times the population of Richmond. Also in the Commonwealth, nearly 100,000 children between the ages of 12 and 17 have depression.

Research shows that discussing mental health can lead to support, reduce stigma, prevent harmful means of coping, improve an individual’s mental and physical health, and build a community.

Recent mental health statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

21% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2020
16.5% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 experienced a mental health disorder in 2016
The average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years
People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population
Students aged 6-17 with mental, emotional or behavioral concerns are 3x more likely to repeat a grade
Caregivers of adults with mental or emotional health issues spend an average of 32 hours per week providing unpaid care
20.8% of people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. have a serious mental health condition
15.3% of U.S. Veterans experienced a mental illness in 2019
1 in 5 people report that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant negative impact on their mental health

Whether it be to inform or to seek help, talking about mental wellness is important.

Here are important resources to share throughout the month of May and year-round:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Crisis Text Line
Same Day Mental Health Services
Virginia Community Services Boards (CSBs)
National Alliance for Mental Illness
Mental Health Conversations in Your Community
Lock and Talk Virginia
Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 or text to 838255
Use Veterans Crisis Chat on the web

Visit for additional tools on how to speak up for yourself and your community.

About Lock and Talk

Lock and Talk Virginia promotes the importance of limiting access to lethal means for a person with suicide thoughts, and we teach anyone how to have conversations that can save lives using a variety of evidence-based skills trainings.

Since 2015, eight prevention specialists in the northern and western community mental health agencies of Virginia worked diligently to develop and implement a new community suicide prevention program. These “Founding Mothers” expanded the program across Virginia in partnership with Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. Now, Lock and Talk is embedded in Prevention Services at Community Services Boards around the state.

If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide: Contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 or Crisis Textline: 741741, type “Hello.”

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