Heather Trepal, the 68th president of the American Counseling Association

April is #CounselingAwarenessMonth! This is definitely one month when we have the opportunity to put our advocacy skills to work and showcase our amazing profession. We have a unique chance to use our collective voice to publicize all of the ways that counselors are making a difference in the world.

Although advocacy is our shared responsibility, it is also personal. I don’t know what professional issue or concern you find most called to address in your heart, but there is room for all of us to engage in professional advocacy. My hope is that each and every American Counseling Association member will find something about our profession to highlight and showcase during Counseling Awareness Month. We need to promote help-seeking by continuously raising awareness about mental health and wellness and the important work that counselors do. Please visit the Counseling Awareness Month page on the ACA website to get some ideas about ways that you can advocate for the profession during this important month.   

Professional athletes make up one very public group of people who are increasingly raising awareness about and advocating for mental health. For example, the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA) hosted a mental health awareness night pregame event in February. In addition, professional basketball players such as Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and DeMar DeRozan of the Spurs have recently talked publicly about their personal mental health struggles. The NBA has even adopted a rule to employ dedicated mental health staff for each team. The National Football League has a similar policy in place.

Professional sports leagues and athletes have a wide audience, so as they continue advocating to raise awareness, I am confident that their efforts will result in increased help-seeking and the continued destigmatization of mental health concerns.


Follow Heather on Twitter @HeatherTrepal