One in every four or five youth in the general population meets criteria for a lifetime mental disorder,1and the risk of mental illness increases for young people from low-income families2 and those who have been involved with the juvenile justice3 or child welfare systems.4 Discrimination associated with mental illness poses a large barrier to recovery and is a main reason why people don’t seek help and treatment.5 However, as President Obama outlined in his Presidential Proclamation officially naming May 2013 as National Mental Health Awareness Month, it is our job as a nation to help erase the attitudes and discrimination associated with receiving mental health services and spread the word that seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength.
As part of National Mental Health Awareness Month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is sponsoring National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on May 9, 2013. Communities across the country will hold local Awareness Day events to raise awareness about children’s mental health. Check out this list of highlighted events to find Awareness Day activities in your state. SAMHSA will launch National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day celebrations with a virtual event on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. EDT. This virtual event will feature young people sharing their stories and discussing how their relationships helped them develop resilience and overcome challenges in order to stay in school, find a job, and successfully become independent as they transitioned to adulthood. The virtual event will feature Washington, DC, local news anchor Leon Harris as emcee and a recorded message from Awareness Day Honorary Chairperson Demi Lovato.
Tune in to the event on May 7, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. EDT by visiting www.samhsa.gov/children. You can participate in SAMHSA’s virtual Tweetup by following @samhsagov and using #HeroesofHope to share resources and information as you watch the event along with colleagues and communities across the nation.
To find further information about National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, related resources, and events and to learn more about mental health for young people, visit these websites:
1 Merikangas K. R., He J. P., Burstein M,…. Swendsen,, J. (2010). Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in U.S. adolescents: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication—Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(10), 980–989. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946114/ (PDF, 10 pages)
2 Howell, E. (2004). Access to children’s mental health services under Medicaid and SCHIP. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/311053_B-60.pdf (PDF, 8 pages)
3 Skowyra, K. R., & Cocozza, J. J. (2006). Blueprint for change: A comprehensive model for the identification and treatment of youth with mental health needs in contact with the juvenile justice system. Delmar, NY: The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and Policy Research Associates, Inc.
4 Howell, E. (2004). Access to children’s mental health services under Medicaid and SCHIP. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/311053_B-60.pdf (PDF, 8 pages)
5 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2006). National mental health stigma campaign: What a difference a friend makes. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/MentalHealth/SMA07-4257.pdf (PDF, 2 pages)
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