Children’s Mental Health Awarenes Week Highlights
Stories of Resiliency: Youth & Family Share Powerful Messages of What Works Best
AUGUSTA — Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week got off to a great trauma-informed start in Maine!
On May 3, at the Hall of Flags, Augusta, more than 30 service providers heard seven youth and family members share inspiring stories of resiliency and the stabilization of emotional wellness in the face of challenges ranging from abuse and teen pregnancy, juvenile incarceration and autism, to a learning disability and depression. Adults spoke of the difference a family organization can make and family-strengthening intergenerational resiliency.
Resiliency from within nurtured by family and other natural supports, as well as youth-guided, family-driven and culturally competent treatment goes a long way towards countering research that children, even as young as 18 months old, who are exposed to traumatic events, can develop serious problems as they mature, including substance abuse, depression, anxiety and stress management issues.
May has been Mental Health Awareness month since Congress established it in the late 1960s. Seven years ago, the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health declared the first week of May Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Last year, nearly 11,000 children participated in awareness events nationwide and the number of national organizations collaborating on this public awareness effort has risen from four in 2005 to 88 in 2011.
Weeklong awareness events are now part of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) overall strategy to raise awareness that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth. Click here for SAMHSA’s 2011 Short Report on data demonstrating the effectiveness of Systems of Care and National Child Traumatic Stress Network grantees in treating children with trauma. To learn more, visit www.samhsa.gov/children.