NASW Brings Awareness to the Importance of Mental Health

May 2022

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) wishes to bring attention to the importance of mental health as it affects millions of people in the United States. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), each year 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 youths ages 6-17 deal with mental illness[1]. The impact has been further exacerbated by the Covid pandemic. While the pandemic has greatly affected the overall safety and wellbeing of the population, it has also highlighted longstanding issues with accessing care. A statical report from NAMI indicated 11% of those who are mentally ill in the United States were uninsured in 20201. The same report also found 148 million people in this country live in areas with a shortage of mental health providers.

Additional information from NAMI shows the rate of mental illness among adults of different demographic groups are as follows1:

  • Caucasian: 22.6%
  • African American: 17.3%
  • Latino/Hispanic 18.4%
  • Asian 13.9%
  • Indigenous/Alaskan Natives:18.7%
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 16.6%
  • Mixed/multiracial (Non-Hispanic): 35.8%
  • Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual: 47.4%

The social work profession has always played a vital role in addressing the mental health needs of individuals, families, and communities. Social workers remain dedicated to ensuring the populations they serve have access to much needed resources and support. In addition to acknowledging those impacted by mental illness, NASW provides valuable information and resources to social workers who help them.



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Prepared by
Denise Johnson, LCSW-C
Senior Practice Associate, Clinical Social Work


1 Mental health by the Numbers. (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2022, from