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May is Mental Health Month

mental healthEach year, more than 40 million Americans experience mental illness, and 50 percent of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life (with half of those people developing conditions by the age of 14)*.

Recognizing the early signs of mental health conditions and taking action — is a critical step toward effective treatment that can help people live life to the fullest. According to work by Mental Health America, “mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process.” Their “B4Stage4” program outlines the stages of mental health conditions, and impresses the importance of intervention before a person reaches stage 4.


For more information about what you should know and what you can do at each stage, visit

For many, knowing where to turn for support and treatment is the most challenging step. The Catalogue for Philanthropy is proud to feature a number of local charities that focus solely on supporting the mental health of individuals in our community through counseling and outreach services:


Aspire Counseling (Gaithersburg, MD)
Meets the mental health needs of Montgomery County residents.


ascensionsAscensions Community Services, Inc. (Washington, DC)
Provides families in Wards 7 and 8 with individualized mental health assistance.



wendtWendt Center for Loss and Healing (Washington, DC)
Offers counseling, support, and crisis response for those of all ages affected by trauma and loss. (Volunteer opportunities also available here).


The Women’s Center
(Vienna, VA)
Makes mental health counseling accessible to all. (Volunteer opportunities also available here).


In addition to the organizations listed above, more than 40 health and wellness organizations listed in the Catalogue for Philanthropy also have mental health offerings as part of their programming.

We encourage you to learn more not only about these organizations, but also about the warning signs and symptoms of mental health problems. Through awareness and education we can remove the stigma of mental health problems, connect those in need with the right resources, and be a source of support in their treatment.

*Source: 2 Ronald C. Kessler et al., Lifetime Prevalence and Age-of-Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, 62 Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 593, 595 (2005).

7 Questions – Shannon Steene (Good Shepherd Housing & Family Services)

Good morning! Welcome … Shannon Steene, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Housing & Family Services, which combats homelessness by renting apartments with supportive services, making grants to prevent evictions, and providing counseling and financial education — and which stabilized over 750 families last year.

1. What was your most interesting recent project, initiative, partnership, or event?

Maybe this is cheating, but what’s held my interest lately is the intersection of a consulting project (led by a Compass team – - thanks, Compass!) with a board development project (led by Maureen Robinson). Either of these on their own would hold my attention, but together they give me assurance that we are not only planning for our future, but also equipping ourselves with the structure and practices needed to make that future vision possible. It has taken quite a bit of energy from all involved. Compass and Maureen have all been amiable to adjusting from the original plans as needed, and that has been key to getting it all done. There are a few steps yet, but we’re on track!

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