NASW part of Change Direction Campaign to Educate Public About Mental Health

Campaign logo

Campaign logo

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is a partner in the Campaign to Change Direction, a nationwide movement led by Give an Hour to address the urgent need to get more people to discuss mental health, mental illness and mental well-being.

NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, on March 4 will take part in a summit at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. to formally kick off the campaign. McClain will join a panel discussion with Saul Levin, MD, MPA, CEO/MDO of the American Psychiatric Association and Norman Anderson, PhD, CEO/Executive Vice President of the American Psychological Association, to discuss the role of associations in educating the public about mental health.

First Lady Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama. Photo courtesy of the White House.

Speakers at the event include First Lady Michelle Obama; Bruce Cohen, Academy Award-winning producer of “Silver Linings Playbook,”; Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation; and Give and Hour Founder Barbara Van Dahlen, PhD.

Give an Hour is national nonprofit organization that allows mental health professionals to donate one hour a week to provide counseling to returning troops and their families. NASW is a supporter of Give and Hour and is a founding member of the Change Direction Campaign.

About one out of five people, or 42.5 million American adults, suffers from a diagnosable mental health condition. Half of lifetime cases of mental disorders begin by age 14.

As part of the Change Direction Campaign NASW has pledged to work with its members to educate the public about the five signs that an individual or a loved one may be suffering from a mental illness.

The five signs someone may be suffering from a mental illness are:

  • Their personality changes
  • They seem uncharacteristically angry, anxious, agitated or moody
  • They withdraw or isolate themselves from other people
  • They stop taking care of themselves and may engage in risky behavior.
  • they seem overcome with hopelessness and overwhelmed by their circumstances.

NASW has Mental Health Resources to help educate the public about the signs of mental illness. The Change Direction summit will take place March 4, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. in Washington D.C. The event will be livestreamed at


  1. I hope the summit meeting on March 4th went well and am so glad NASW was at the table!

  2. Cindy Reide Combs

    First Lady Obama’s support of this campaign is monumental. The First Lady’s concern about mental health issues and the need to continuously improve upon services to this vulnerable population, is important for social workers/ advocates and other mental health professionals moving forward.

  3. How do I get involved with this discussion.

    • Sylvia:

      Thanks for your interest in the Change Direction Campaign. NASW plans to share information on the campaign through its various websites. If you would like to suggest other ways we can distribute the information or have ideas on what ways you wish to get involved please contact us. We would love to hear from you. Email me directly.

      Greg Wright
      NASW Public Relations Manager

  4. i totally agree with this move because so many individuals suffer from mental health and have little or no idea whats they are going through.

Leave a Reply to Ada Ichoja Ohaba Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.