From The Guidance Center’s CEO, Patricia Costales, LCSW:

We’ve come a long way to combat the stigma surrounding mental health in our communities. More often, we see brave children and their families seeking help and wanting to create change in their lives. At The Guidance Center, we reassure them that asking for help is an act of courage, a sign of strength and rising up. We remind them they are always supported no matter their struggles and they are safe when they walk through our doors. Their mental health journeys make them each so unique and resilient. They inspire me every day.

As we approach Mental Health Awareness Month this May, I invite you to join me in speaking out about mental health. Start a conversation with a friend or a family member. Ask them what mental health means to them. Why is it so important in our daily lives?

We still have a long way to go to stop mental health stigma, but each of us can be an advocate. For me, it starts with spreading kindness in our neighborhoods and communities. You never know what someone may be going through. We can reach out to a friend to see how they are doing, even if they seem okay. We can speak out about our own experiences in therapy and paths to mental wellness. These simple, caring interactions can make a huge difference. It can encourage someone who needs help to seek it. Stigma around mental health surrounds us, but we can work together to combat it.


Here are some resources to help you get the conversation started:

• How can I help a friend struggling with their mental health? By Better Mynd
• 31 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health by Mental Health America
• What is Stigma? Why is it a Problem? By NAMI
• Do you have Stigma? Stigma harms the 1 in 5 Americans affected by mental health conditions. It shames them into silence and prevents them from seeking help. Take the quiz at
• 5 ways to start a conversation about mental health by Time to Change
• 21 Ways To Be Kind To Our Mental Health by Mental Health America
• How to engage in positive self-talk by CHOC Children’s
• Signs Your Child Might Benefit from Mental Health Support by The Guidance Center
• Sign up for a local Mental Health First Aid course and learn how to help someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis
• Talk to your doctor about mental health if it’s not already part of your annual wellness check up
Other Mental Health Resources and Hotlines


Mark your calendar for these awareness dates and opportunities to support The Guidance Center and our partners!

April 29 – May 5: Screen-Free Week – unplug from screen-based and digital entertainment

May 1 – 8: National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

May 6: National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

May 9: All Aboard to Health and Wellness (Head Start fair) – Community resources, wellness informational booths, activities for children and families, prizes, giveaways, and more! Time and more information on this flyer.

May 11: KARMA RIDE at GritCycle StudioThe Student Nurses Association of Cerritos College (SNACC) hosts KARMA Ride at GritCycle Studio in Long Beach for May Mental Health Month. Proceeds raised with benefit The Guidance Center. Click here to see the flyer for more information and reserve your bike (limited spots available) by clicking here.

May 16: The Guidance Center’s It’s About T.I.M.E. Social Hour – Join us for our 3rd annual It’s About T.I.M.E. Social Hour at Liberation Brewing Co. in Long Beach on Thursday, May 16 from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm. The community plays a critical part in the success of this program, a trauma-informed movement spreading throughout Long Beach and in local schools. Click here for more information and to buy your ticket!

May 12 – 18: National Women’s Health Week

May 12 – 18: National Prevention Week by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA)

May 31: Mental Health Awareness Month Panel Discussion – MemorialCare’s 2nd Annual Mental Health Awareness Month Panel Discussion – The Anxiety Epidemic: Examining Cause, Treatment & Prevention will be held on Friday, May 31 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center, Van Dyke Theater, 2801 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90806. Breakfast will be served. Please RSVP to Lauren Gallant at or 714.377.3248. Space is limited.