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Mental Health Awareness Month: Back to Basics
Back To Basics: Practical Mental Health Information

Since the start of the pandemic, more and more people are talking about mental health. An increasing number of folks are starting to see it for what it is: one important component of your overall health and well-being, just like your physical health. But mental health conditions, resources, and conversations can still feel complicated and out of reach.

Are there common warning signs for mental health conditions or crises? Specific factors that can lead to mental health conditions or even crises? What resources are out there – and how do I know if they’re right for me?

Many people are learning about mental health topics for the first time. Having a widespread understanding of the topic can help you be more informed if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health condition or crisis. Around half of people in the U.S. will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in their life, so everyone should know what to look out for.

Everyone should have the support needed to thrive. Communities that have been historically and presently oppressed face a deeper mental health burden because of the added impact of trauma, oppression, and harm.

There’s often no one single cause for a mental health condition. Instead, there are many possible risk factors that can influence how likely a person is to experience a mental health condition or how serious the symptoms may be.

Some risk factors for mental health conditions include: trauma, which can be a one-time event or ongoing; your environment and how it impacts your health and quality of life (also known as social determinants of health like financial stability and health care access); genetics; brain chemistry; and your habits and lifestyle such as a lack of sleep.

Of course, understanding the risk factors for a mental health condition can be more difficult when it’s your own mental health. Take time to ask yourself about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to see if this is part of a pattern that may be caused by a mental health condition. Here are some questions to get you started:
  • Have things that used to feel easy started feeling difficult?
  • Does the idea of doing daily tasks like making your bed now feel really, really hard?
  • Have you lost interest in activities and hobbies you used to enjoy?
  • Do you feel irritated, possibly to the point of lashing out at people you care about?
Our society focuses much more on physical health than mental health, but both are equally important. If you are concerned about your mental health, there are several options available. You are not alone – help is out there, and recovery is possible. It may be hard to talk about your concerns, but simply acknowledging to yourself that you’re
struggling is a really big step.

Taking a screen at can help you to better understand what you are experiencing and get helpful resources. After that, consider talking to someone you trust about your results, and seek out a professional to find the support you need.

While you may not need this information today, knowing the basics about mental health will mean you’re prepared if you ever need it. Go to to learn more.

For additional information and local resources visit 
With mental health entering more and more of our daily conversations, it’s critical that everyone has a solid foundation of knowledge about mental health. That’s why for Mental Health Month this year, Mental Health America is getting back to basics.

Mental Health America’s 2022 Mental Health Month toolkit provides free, practical resources to introduce mental health topics like recognizing warning signs, knowing the factors that can lead to mental health conditions, maintaining mental wellness, seeking help for mental health.
New Mental Health Promotion Campaign
After many years of hard work from many different folks, including many of you associated with the Family, Youth, and System Partners Round Tables, HCA has launched a new mental health promotion campaign entitled “No Shame in Your Brain” directed towards youth ages 13-18.
About the campaign
The campaign is bilingual in English and Spanish and promotes easy-to-access resources by text or phone for youth who want to connect and talk with someone. The campaign focuses on socializing mental health as a positive concept and celebrates the unique qualities of teens.
Goals of this toolkit:
  • Socialize mental health as a positive concept for young people
  • Promote help-seeking
  • Provide resources to build coping skills and resiliency
  • Be inclusive
  • Reduce stigma around mental health conditions and seeking/receiving help  Increase awareness 
  • Include resource and messaging in both English and Spanish
This campaign is funded by the Systems of Care Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which focuses on expanding the continuum of care for youth, families, and caregivers.
Here is a link to the Youth Mental Health Communication Toolkit – No Shame in Your Brain/Consciente de tu Mente

You talk to your friends about E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. They know the REAL you. Except maybe when you’re down. You keep a lot of those feelings to yourself. Be the REAL REAL you with your friends. They care, they’re listening, and they probably feel the same sometimes. And if you need help, get free, confidential support from a trained teen by calling or texting (866) 833-6564 or visiting

KMHPC Upcoming Events & Webinars
Kids Mental Health Action Team Meeting 
The KMHPC Action Teams are comprised of people and agencies working together to plan and implement KMHPC community-wide agenda. Meetings are held virtually the last Thursday of each month at 1:00PM. 

Join us for our May Action Team Meeting at a special time and day as we develop priority actions and goals for 2022 for Kids Mental Health Pierce County. This month we will be working on identifying strategies and priority actions around our Youth Crisis System in Pierce County. 

Next Meeting: Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 1:00pm
Join Us!
Mental Health Awareness Month Event

This community event will provide foundational knowledge about mental health & mental health conditions and information about what people can do if their mental health is a cause for concern.

The event will include a screening of the Documentary Film My Ascension followed by a community panel focused on suicide prevention and crisis mental health resources.

*Students under the age of 13 are encouraged to attend with a parent/caregiver or trusted adult*

Event agenda includes:

  • Community Resource Fair (4:00-7:30)
    MultiCare Behavioral Health,
    Greater Lakes, YES Sumner-Boney Lake,
    Managed Care Organizations, Consejo
    NAMI Pierce County & More
  • FREE Food
  • FREE T-shirt for the first 100
    attendees (while supplies last)


  • FREE screening of documentary
    film: My Ascension


  • Q&A with community mental health panel
  • Drawing—All attending youth with be eligible for a drawing

Click here for more information about this event! 

KMHPC SEL & Trauma Webinar Series
Kids Mental Health Pierce County in collaboration with Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital’s YES Program is excited to announce our upcoming webinar series: Social Emotional Learning & Trauma in Schools. This webinar series is facilitated by Education and Behavioral Consultant, Tovah Denaro, MS.Ed. This series will go throughout the 2021-2022 school year with sessions occurring monthly. The series is open to all Pierce County school professionals and community members. 

For more information or questions contact Tovah Denaro or visit our website: 
 May Session Objectives: *Learn about our brain's alarm reaction and how it impacts an adult's relationship with the youth they serve. *Learn different strategies to support our youth by being more productive with how we engage and respond to youth behavior. *Learn how to support youth through interventions when they are engaged in challenging and escalated behavior.
Supporting Gender-Diverse Youth Through Trauma Informed Practices Presented by Tovah Denaro (she/hers), MS.Ed Educational and Behavioral Consultant. Recorded Thursday, April 14th, 2022 4:00 – 5:30pm Webinar

Objectives: Analyze data from the most recent research on LGBTQIA+ youth in our country to gain an understanding of unique experiences and challenges within the community Gain an understanding of what trauma informed and responsive allyship looks like and specific interventions to increase allyship at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels Learn specific communication skills and support to work with LGBTQIA+ youth that are trauma informed and responsive
Community Resources and Events

 Wild Grief, is a small non-profit located in Olympia, WA that is offering unique nature based programs for grieving youth and families. Their  programs combine peer support and nature connection to help anyone who has lost a loved one build community, normalize the grief experience, and draw upon nature as a source of resilience and healing. All programs are free and we work to make them as accessible as possible by providing all needed gear and offering gas cards if needed. 

The application deadline for our Teen Backpacking Trip is coming up on May 19th. This is a 4-day adventure into the wilderness with 8 teens and 4 leaders to experience the awe inspiring beauty of nature, learn something about your grief and have fun! Free for grieving teens and all backpacking gear and food are provided. No experience necessary!

Read more and apply at

Check out our FAQ:

If you are connected to a teen who has had someone important to them die, but the Teen Backpack sounds like too much, we also have a Teen Day Hike coming up on June 4th. The hike will be at Mt. St. Helens and we will provide transportation from Olympia.

Pierce County is happy to announce a new scholarship fund that may be used for YOUTH outdoor camps, sports, and other outdoor recreation programs.
The scholarship is for youth ages 4 - 21, that are exclusively participating in one of our youth outdoor recreation programs, camps, or classes.
Examples of eligible Specialized Recreation programs under this scholarship (not limited to):
  • Camp Lots of Fun
  • Camp Pierce
  • Camp Pursuit
  • Earth Explorers Adventure Camp
  • Special Olympics Golf and Softball
  • Meet Me In The Park
Information including eligibility requirements, the application process and income guidelines can be found here: Youth Summer Scholarships | Pierce County, WA - Official Website (

The Pierce County School & CBO Network Meeting takes place on the 4th Friday of every month from 11-12. 

The intention of this network meeting is to build partnership with our organizations and school districts, collaborate on solution focused efforts, and to share our efforts and/or events within the community.

Google Folder Link (to view past meeting notes, agenda, and resources)

Meeting Registration
Upcoming Trainings
Engaging Families and Family Systems

Behavioral health providers know that very often getting families on board with services tends to make those services more effective. However, providers also know the challenge it can be to get family members involved in helpful ways and have them stay involved. Further, even if they are in counseling sessions, family members can engage in numerous behaviors that negatively impact treatment. This training will review research on the benefits of family involvement in counseling and help clinicians develop skills which will promote family participation in session that support the treatment of youth who have SUDs. We will review methods of adapting Motivational Interviewing (MI) skills to assist in engaging families in behavioral health services and making them a valuable addition to treatment. We will also identify times when referral for family counseling is preferred or contraindicated.

June 9, 2022 | 9:00am – 4:30pm (with breaks)
6 CEs will be available upon completion of this virtual training.
Trainer: Paul Hunziker, MA, LMFT, CDP (click here to view bio)
Register Here
Workforce Survey
Please be advised that the Spring 2022 Washington Health Workforce Sentinel Network is now open, providing you and your organization a unique opportunity to make your workforce needs known to policymakers, planners, and educators.  

As a key health workforce partner, you are being asked to share your health workforce needs via the link below. This will take approximately 20 minutes, depending upon the size and complexity of your organization. Examples of questions:  
  • What are your current workforce experiences and concerns?   
  • How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your organization?  
  • What health workforce challenges are you facing now compared to six months ago?    
Complete the Spring 2022 WA Health Sentinel Network  
Please take approximately 20 minutes to respond at . Your feedback is critical and confidential 

Questions? Email or call (206) 543-9797. 

Washington’s Sentinel Network is a collaboration of the state’s Workforce Board and the University of Washington’s Center for Health Workforce Studies and a program of Washington’s Health Workforce Council. Funding to initiate the Sentinel Network came from the Healthier Washington initiative, with ongoing support from Governor Inslee’s office and the Washington Legislature. 

Seeking Youth Voice
Reimagining Access to Substance Use Services with and for Youth and Young Adults
Health Care Authority (HCA), Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) is excited to be partnering with Do Big Good, a human-centered design consulting firm to work with young people, reimaging access and treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) services. They will facilitate co-design sessions with youth and young adults (YYA) as well as facilitate community sessions with parents, families, behavioral health providers and YYA serving agencies. Do Big Good will produce a report inclusive of the co-design process and recommendations from young people that will be incorporated into the behavioral health strategic plan from HB1890, Concerning the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Workgroup.
Recruiting youth, young adults (13-24)
Compensation will be offered for the session. We will be leaning on you as YYA behavioral health agencies, service providers and families in identifying young people to participate in the initial project plan development (late May, early June) as well as participate in co-design sessions (June-August).
More information to come soon. Wanting this on your radar and to be thinking about young people to share this info with as well as participating yourself as a parent/guardian, youth, young adult serving agency. 

Please reach out if interested or have any questions! – Amanda Lewis (she/her) or 360-628-1730.
Workforce Development
Answer the Call! 988 Lifeline Suicide & Crisis Network Jobs

On July 16, 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) will transition to an easy-to-remember, 3-digit number (988). This represents an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen and expand the existing network of over 200 locally operated and funded crisis centers across the country.
In advance of the 988 transition in July, the Lifeline Suicide & Crisis Network is looking to bring on new volunteers and paid employees to answer calls, chats, and texts from people in crisis. All employees and volunteers receive training, so if you are a caring person who wants to help those in crisis, apply today.
Find YOUR opportunity:
Read more about 988 at
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