May is Mental Health Month. During the first week of this month, Children’s Mental Health Week is observed, to raise awareness of issues integral to children’s mental health in communities nationwide.
End the Stigma
As an educator observing Children’s Mental Health Week, you are in a position to help alleviate the stigma surrounding these issues, which stem from illness in the central nervous system.
Mental health should be prioritized as high as any other conditions facing children. Yet, while as many as 20 percent of U.S. children have some type of mental health issue, many parents – and others – remain significantly undereducated about relevant facts and available resources.
- Just one example: According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, 1 in 13 school-age children takes one or more prescription medications for behavioral or emotional issues. Experts feel that the most likely diagnoses are attention deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) disorder, anxiety, and depression.
- Left untreated, mental health problems can result in negative and sometimes tragic consequences. These include dropping out of school, substance abuse, physical problems, and even suicide.
- Associated costs in the U.S. are just under $250 billion a year.
Create a Dialogue
Children’s Mental Health Week is a great time to provide education and build understanding that positive mental health is essential to a child’s development, from birth through adolescence. Prevention, as well as early diagnosis and intervention, are critical.
- Contact your elected officials. Support legislation, policies and practices that support families and better equip them to address children’s mental health conditions. Advocate for holistic approaches that include the provision of tools and resources for families and nurture resiliency.
Lead a Green Ribbon Campaign
The green ribbon is an uplifting symbol that provides hope and celebrates unity throughout the children’s mental health arena – reaching out to families, friends, schools and communities. You can purchase green ribbon pins, stickers, caps and other items from the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.
What can you do to promote the values of acceptance, dignity and social inclusion during this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week?
Contact the Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services team for resources, tips and guidance on this and other topics relevant to your school-based therapy practice. Read our related posts – or reach out to us today!