Awareness Day 2017: “Partnering for Help and Hope”

The 2017 national event will take place on Thursday, May 4, at 7 p.m. EDT in Washington, DC, at The George Washington University School of Media & Public Affairs’ Jack Morton Auditorium. The event, Awareness Day 2017: “Partnering for Help and Hope,” will focus on the importance of integrating behavioral health and primary care for children, youth, and young adults with mental and/or substance use disorders. The 2017 national event will feature interactive panels addressing the following topics: • The importance of addressing the social, emotional, behavioral, and physical health needs of children, youth, and young adults together; • Modeling effective communication practices between behavioral health providers, primary care providers, families, and youth; and • Addressing the needs of the behavioral health needs of youth with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and asthma. Each year, SAMHSA presents a Special Recognition Award to a person well known to the public who has experienced mental and/or substance use disorders, is now in recovery, and is committed to helping children and youth become resilient. Olympic champions Michael Phelps, the world’s most decorated Olympian, and Allison Schmitt, an eight-time Olympic medalist, will serve as Honorary Chairpersons of Awareness Day 2017 and receive SAMHSA Special Recognition Awards. Teammates and personal friends, Phelps and Schmitt have spoken candidly about their respective struggles with behavioral health and how they have supported each other through difficult times. The duo will collaborate with SAMHSA to promote children’s behavioral health initiatives. During the national event, families, youth, and young adults across the country will have an opportunity to pose questions to panelists on the national stage through email and social media. SAMHSA will webcast the event and NBC4 Washington and its sister stations across the U.S. will livestream the event. Viewers are encouraged to use the hashtag #HeroesofHope when participating in the national event discussion on social media. Viewers are also encouraged to participate in the Awareness Day 2017 Text, Talk, Act conversation ( Through text messaging, small groups can receive discussion questions that lead them through a conversation about mental health.