May is Mental Health Awareness Month

February 24, 2022 3:36 PM
by Ivy Chang

Updated as of April 24, 2023

Throughout the month of May, the City of Santa Monica will focus on raising awareness about behavioral health through a series of free community events and activities. This is an opportunity to increase understanding of and destigmatize conversations about mental health and substance abuse and elevate local resources that support diverse paths to prevention and recovery for all.

If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8, the LA County Department of Mental Health Help Line at (800) 854-7771, or text "LA" to 741741. Available 24/7. See additional mental health resources below.


This year’s events align with the City’s efforts to obtain comprehensive community feedback on a local Behavioral Health Strategy. The City has contracted with Initium Health to support this effort. In addition to an online public survey, they are facilitating the following series of in-person Future of Behavioral Health Ideas Exchange events, where community members will have the opportunity to discuss solutions to local mental health and substance use issues with experts:

  • May 17, 5 – 7 p.m. at the Annenberg Community Beach House. This event will include private and public sector leaders, including the City Manager and members of the Santa Monica City Council.
  • May 18, 12 – 2 p.m. at the Main Library.
  • May 18, 6 – 8 p.m. at Virginia Avenue Park. Childcare will be provided.
  • Anyone who is interested in sharing their feedback about the City’s behavioral health needs, including mental health and substance use, is encouraged to attend any of the Ideas Exchange events and/or complete the online survey.


    Adult Mental Health First Aid Training
    April 24, May 12, May 17, June 13, and June 20, 2023, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Online
    Providence St. John’s Community Education is hosting several one-day Adult Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainings between April and June. MHFA training gives participants the skills they need to provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care. Register at

    "Let’s Talk About It" United Mental Health Promoters' Resource Tables
    May 1, 3, 6, 17, and 31, 2023, at the Main Library, the Montana Avenue Branch, and the Pico Branch
    The United Mental Health Promoters will have resource tables at the library to share mental health information, including how to get help, for all ages.

    Positive Parenting Workshop: Understanding Learning Disabilities, Autism, and ADHD 
    May 6, 2023, 10:30  11:30 a.m. at the Montana Avenue Branch Library
    United Mental Health Promoters (LA County Dept. of Mental Health) presents a free, confidential, educational and engaging conversation around Positive Parenting in our community. UMHP aims to reduce stigma associated with mental illness by increasing awareness, removing barriers, engaging families with children, and improving timely access to culturally and linguistically-appropriate resources. For parents, grandparents and caregivers. A light breakfast will be served and childcare provided. To register, email or call (310) 458-8600.

    Keeping Kids Safe (Child Abuse Prevention Training) 
    May 8, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Online
    This is an informative workshop for caregivers of elementary school age children and younger on how to keep kids safe from sexual abuse. Sign up at

    Mental Health Awareness Month Proclamation
    May 9, 2023, 5:30 p.m. at the Santa Monica City Council Meeting
    City Council will present a proclamation to members of the Disabilities Commission proclaiming May as Mental Health Awareness Month. The outside of City Hall will also be lit up in green, the international color of mental health awareness, from May 1 - 15.

    Beach Walk & Sketch
    May 13, 2023, 9 – 10:30 a.m. at Annenberg Community Beach House
    Guided by a naturalist, join others in this peaceful pursuit to sketch the beautiful coastline. This event is hosted by the Nature Nexus Institute and the LA Audubon Society. They will provide binoculars, drawing boards, pencils, and newsprint, or participants can bring their own easy-to-carry sketching tools. Register at

    Kidical Mass Family Bike Ride
    May 21, 2023, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. at Clover Park
    Kidical Mass is a safe and fun event and bike ride for families, from kids to seniors! Community partners will share information and offer activities focused on mental health and wellness throughout the morning. Register at

    Day of Art and Wellness
    May 21, 2023, at Annenberg Community Beach House (ACBH)
    Cultural Affairs celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month at the beach. Nurture the self and feed the collective soul with a day of creation and contemplation focused on well-being, health, and healing! Free day of communal artmaking, workshops, labyrinth walks and meditation for adults, kids, and families led by cutting-edge community-based artists, performers, spiritualists, and mental health advocates. Learn more here.


    Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health
    The County Department of Mental Health (DMH) offers prevention and treatment resources for individuals with a variety of mental health needs, including service referrals and linkages, crisis counseling and intervention, wellness coaching, a meditation app, and support for specific populations (veterans, LGBTQ+ youth, people experiencing homelessness, foster youth, etc.). DMH also continues to support We Rise, a series of community-led events – art installations, cultural experiences, and other community engagement projects – focused on health, healing, and wellbeing during the month of May. More information at

    CLARE | MATRIX is a nonprofit organization that saves lives by providing compassionate, evidence-based treatment for those who struggle with drugs, alcohol and related behavioral health challenges and strives to enhance the field of treatment worldwide through education, research and training. Services include detoxification, residential and outpatient treatment for adults, adolescent prevention services, homelessness services, worldwide Matrix Model training, and certification, along with a series of other provider education resources. For more information, please call 866.452.5273 to be connected with our Call Center or visit for more information.

    Family Service of Santa Monica
    Family Service of Santa Monica (FSSM) provides mental health services for children and families throughout the community in the form of individual psychotherapy and group work. FSSM supports the Santa Monica School District by offering onsite school support through individual and group counseling, crisis support, parent education, and teacher consults. The Early Childhood Well Being Project offers clinical case management, child-parent psychotherapy, developmental screenings, and parent support groups for families with children age 0-5 years. Call Family Service of Santa Monica at (310) 451-9747 or visit to learn more.

    Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center
    Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center provides a comprehensive range of mental health outreach, prevention, and developmental services in response to community needs since 1962. Available in English and Spanish, services are offered for children, adolescents, and their families. Following a “clinic without walls” model, services are provided within the Center, on school sites (SMMUSD and LAUSD), preschools, in the home, in community centers, and in the greater community utilizing evidenced-based practice models. Please call (310) 829-8921 or visit for more information.

    WISE & Healthy Aging
    WISE & Healthy Aging, Santa Monica’s senior services provider, offers a wide array of ongoing mental health services, including men’s and women’s support groups; caregiver support; and workshops focused on decluttering, stress management, and bereavement & transitions. Please call (310) 394-9871 or visit for more information.

    NAMI Family Support Groups
    NAMI Westside LA offers a range of family support groups, including one group in Spanish at Virginia Avenue Park. The support groups are free for family members, significant others, and friends of people living with mental health conditions. By sharing experiences in a safe and confidential setting, participants can connect with others experiencing similar challenges, gain hope, and develop supportive relationships. More information at

    Information subject to change.

    Authored By

    Ivy Chang
    Senior Administrative Analyst


    Arts, Culture & Fun, City Parks, Getting Around, Programs, Transportation Planning, Youth And Seniors