4 Ways To Observe Mental Health Awareness Month

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated October 15, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Each May, Mental Health Month is observed in the US in order to raise awareness about mental health topics by telling personal stories, resources, and the latest research. The month is intended to draw attention to all kinds of mental health conditions, and anxiety is one of these. While there’s no official month for anxiety awareness at this time, there are plenty of actions you can take to learn more about and promote awareness of anxiety disorders during Mental Health Month and year-round.

Getty/Xavier Lorenzo
Anxiety Awareness Is A Year-Round Cause

What Is Anxiety?

The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by apprehension and somatic symptoms of tension in which an individual anticipates impending danger, catastrophe, or misfortune”. While many of us may experience moments of stress and tension from time to time, clinical anxiety refers to such symptoms that are long-term, persistent, and that may be debilitating. 

Anxiety disorders are a category of diagnosable, clinical mental illnesses that can consistently impact a person’s daily functioning and often require treatment—which usually includes some form of psychotherapy, sometimes in conjunction with medication. There are various types of anxiety disorders, such as:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Social anxiety

  • Specific phobias

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Panic disorder

How Common Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is one of the most common categories of mental illness. Globally, an estimated 275 million people live with an anxiety disorder according to the World Economic Forum.

This translates to anywhere from 2.5–6.5% of the population per country worldwide living with anxiety. Given its prevalence, anxiety is a key point of discussion and research among mental health professionals during Mental Health Month and year-round. 

While many people experience symptoms of an anxiety disorder, a large portion of them will never seek or receive treatment due to availabilty, financial barriers, stigma, or other reasons. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) estimates that only 36.9% of people with anxiety disorders seek treatment. Even as anxiety and related topics become more common in everyday conversations and mainstream media and discourse, many people remain hesitant to open up about mental health challenges and seek the help they deserve. Given these statistics, the need for mental health advocacy, anxiety awareness, and support for those with anxiety disorders is significant.


Related Mental Health Awareness Months

In the US, there isn’t an “official” month for anxiety awareness. However, there are several national organizations that set aside specific weeks and months to raise awareness for various mental health issues and mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders. If you’re interested in taking part in events to promote anxiety awareness, looking into the organizations that recognize a specific awareness month is one potential place to start.

Mental Health Month

As mentioned, Mental Health Month is organized by Mental Health America (MHA) and recognized each May. It was founded by MHA and its partners in 1949 and continues to provide resources and facilitate critical conversations about mental health and health awareness in general today. You can avail of toolkits and information about events on their website.

Stress Awareness Month

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have designated April as Stress Awareness Month in the US. The NIH defines stress broadly as “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension”, noting that it’s not always bad, but that ongoing or chronic stress can cause mental and physical health issues over time. Throughout April, the NIH and other organizations provide stress-management tips to help people manage it in their lives to avoid negative health consequences.

Other Campaigns Related To Mental Health And Anxiety

Other notable days and weeks for mental health awareness include:

  • World Mental Health Day, which is observed on October 10 and recognized by the World Health Organization

  • Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, which spotlights a specific mental illness each year. In 2023, the theme of the week is “anxiety”.

  • OCD Awareness Week, which takes place during the second week of October each year and is intended to raise awareness about obsessive-compulsive disorder, a specific type of anxiety disorder

  • National Counseling Awareness Month, which is observed every April to celebrate the mental health professionals who do the important work of supporting people with clinical conditions like anxiety and others

Anxiety Awareness Is A Year-Round Cause

How To Raise Awareness For Anxiety During Mental Health Month

Regardless of your location in the world or which month of the year it is, there are plenty of ways you can contribute to raising awareness about anxiety and related conditions. If you’re looking for ideas, you might consider those listed below. 

  1. Sign Up For A Walk For Mental Health

Several US-based and national organizations organize walks or runs to fundraise for mental health resources. For example, the National Alliance on Mental Health organizes a series of walks throughout the US in the spring and the fall, all unified by the theme #Together4MH. These events offer a sense of solidarity with other walkers, as well as a chance to donate to and/or help raise money for mental health organizations.

  1. Learn More About Anxiety Disorders

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or are supporting a loved one with anxiety, simply learning more about this class of disorders can be a powerful way to cultivate anxiety awareness in your own life. You can read more about anxiety disorders online, watch videos, listen to podcasts, and check out peer-reviewed studies on the latest scientific findings. Focusing on the facts and lived experiences of those with anxiety disorders can be one great way to work toward ending the stigma around these mental health conditions.

  1. Donate To Or Volunteer With A Mental Health Organization

Giving of your resources or time can be another positive way to support anxiety research and awareness. There are many national and local organizations related to mental health care that you might choose to support. You could make a recurring donation to one that provides resources to those who need mental health assistance. Or, you could sign up to volunteer for an organization that’s arranging a fundraiser or provides services for those in need. Plus, as a bonus, research suggests that engaging in acts of generosity like volunteering may be linked to benefits for the giver, too, such as lower blood pressure and increased happiness and well-being.

  1. Care For Your Own Mental Health

Engaging in healthy habits can help you safeguard your own mental health, which is another appropriate way to support mental health and anxiety awareness. Research suggests that engaging in frequent physical activity, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and socializing regularly may all be linked to more positive mental health outcomes. Additionally, seeking treatment is recommended if you’re experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Treatment for a mental health condition, whether it’s depression, bipolar disorder, or just daily stress, can improve your quality of life. Not only can you get the care you deserve, but you can also contribute to ending the stigma around mental health care for those in your community.

How To Connect With A Therapist

If you suspect you may have anxiety or another mental health condition or could otherwise benefit from the nonjudgmental listening ear of a mental health care provider, you might consider meeting with a therapist. Most anxiety disorders are treatable, and a trained therapist can offer you the support and tools you may need to manage symptoms and improve your quality of life. If you’d prefer to meet with someone in person, you can search for a provider in your local area. If you’d feel more comfortable meeting with someone from the comfort of home, you might consider virtual therapy. With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed therapist who you can meet with via phone, video call, and/or online chat from anywhere you have an internet connection. Research suggests that online and in-person therapy can offer similar benefits in many cases, so the format you choose is typically up to you.


Anxiety disorders can occur in many different forms, but all have the potential to cause distress and interfere with mental health and daily functioning. Participating in official or unofficial events to raise funds for or spread information and awareness about this category of mental illnesses can be a helpful way to take part in observances for anxiety awareness and other mental health awareness campaigns. Observing mental health awareness month is one way to support those with mental illness.

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