Children's Mental Health Awareness

In recognition of the annual Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, DCHS offers helpful resources along with special events and activities.

Page updated on Jun 30, 2021 at 9:19 AM

Children's Mental Health Awareness

Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, May 6

This year's theme is Resilience in Times of Adversity and Uncertainty. The Office of Child and Family services at the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) has collaborated with several organizations and subject matter experts to create a series of five videos acknowledging a very challenging year due to the pandemic and racial injustices. The videos will contain practical strategies and solutions for helping families and young people achieve success and abundance in their lives. One video will be released each day, beginning May 3 through May 7, on the DBHDS YouTube Channel:

The National Federation of Families has also developed a workbook just for kids to celebrate Children's Mental Health Awareness.

 Kognito Resources

Kognito's At-Risk for Elementary, Middle School and At-Risk for High School are research-proven training simulations designed to prepare concerned adults to:

(1) Recognize when a young person is exhibiting signs of psychological distress, and;
(2) Manage a conversation with the young person with the goal of connecting them with the appropriate support.

Kognito's Step In, Speak Up! is a 30-minute online simulation for concerned adults to gain tools to support youth who may be struggling due to harassment or exclusion related to sexual identity, sexual orientation or other differences. Kognito's Friend2Friend online simulations help high school youth provide peer support. To access a license for this training at no cost, email

Mental Health Resources

With so many messages about suicide coming at us through the media and entertainment – whether it's 13 Reasons Why, the S-Town podcast, or disturbing stories in the news – it's important to know you can stop suicide simply by being aware and taking action. The  American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has excellent resources including a webinar on using 13 Reasons Why to initiate a helpful conversation about suicide prevention and mental health.

A Friend Asks is a free smart-phone app that helps provide the information, tools and resources to help a friend (or yourself) who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide. Download the app today and encourage friends and family to do the same. Education is the key to prevention and with information like this as close as your smartphone; you could help save a life.

There are excellent mental health and resilience resources for youth and families complied at the  Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern Virginia website.

Mental Health First Aid

DCHS offers Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Youth Mental Health First Aid training for laypersons and paraprofessionals. MHFA is an eight-hour training and certification on skills to help persons who are developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training demonstrates the initial help given to a person showing signs of mental illness or a mental health crisis. More information about the course is available. Visit the online registration for class dates. Open until filled. Limit 20 participants per class. Re-certification is available online, or by taking the full course again.