May 9: Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
On May 9, 2012, the OJJDP and SAMHSA will observe National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day to promote recovery and resilience for young people in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. The two agencies will support efforts to help the public recognize signs of chlid trauma, promote treatment for children's traumatic experiences and promote trauma-informed social services and supports.
Why is this important?
As we learned at this year's JMATE conference, childhood mental health problems increase the risk of substance use and addiction (because many teens are self-medicating) and substance use increases the risk of developing mental health problems. Trauma (especially when experienced at a young age) severely affects a child's ability to cope and affects brain size (NOT intelligence). And 92% of incarcerated kids have experienced one or more traumas during their childhood.
To learn more about National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day and to plan an activity, visit www.samhsa.gov/children.
Liz Wu is a Digital Accounts Manager at Prichard Communications, where she oversees digital outreach for Reclaiming Futures and edits Reclaiming Futures Every Day. Before joining the Prichard team, Liz established the West Coast communications presence for the New America Foundation, where she managed all media relations, event planning and social media outreach for their 6 domestic policy programs. Liz received a B.A. in both Peace and Conflict Studies and German from the University of California at Berkeley. She tweets from @LizSF.