National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week – May 1-7
Photo: National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
By Alexa Bigwarfe
This year the Green Ribbon Campaign signifies the effort to end the stigma around mental health and educate our communities on the importance of good mental health programs for children in our communities. Mental health issues stem from illness in the central nervous system, and should be prioritized as high as any other health condition facing our children. While as many as 20% of children in America have some sort of mental health issue, according to research by ScienceDirect.com, parents remain overwhelmingly under educated about children’s health issues and resources.
The purpose of the specific focus on children’s mental health week is to help educate and inform the population about not only the need for good access to care for children with mental health issues, but also to highlight the support resources that are already available for children and teens who may be suffering from mental health issues and trauma. It’s an opportunity to discuss the importance of access to mental health services, and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. During this week, positive mental health practices will be featured.
Our children need access to good mental health programs across the United States. A recent study from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics found that 1 in 13 school age children is taking one or more prescription medicine for behavioral or emotional issues. The data was derived from the National Health Interview Survey, which continually collects information about US health and health care. Although the researchers could not identify specifically what the children were being treated for, in their expert opinions, the most likely disorders are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and depression.
When left untreated in children and adolescents, mental health problems can result in negative and sometimes tragic consequences. These may include dropping out of high school, substance abuse, juvenile detention, physical health problems, and even suicide. Associated costs, both financial and human, are wide and can impact not only the child, but their family, community, and beyond (as much as $247 billion per year, according to Annual Report on Health Care for Children and Youth in the United States).
Learn more about Awareness week, childhood emotional and behavioral problems, and medications at National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
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