Mental Health Awareness Focus: Children’s Mental Health Awareness
By Chelsea Bullock
Miss S.C. Sweet Potato Festival
The first week of May is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. You may think children have nothing to worry about but play, school, and enjoying no responsibility. At least, that is what most adults quote; however, this is not true.
Here are some facts:
•50% of mental health conditions begin by age 14, and jumps to 75% by age of 24.
•One in five children suffer from a mental health challenge, yet less than 20% of those affected get the support and services they need.
•The CDC survey shows that 13% of children ages 8 to 15 have a diagnosable mental disorder. The most common is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some more mental health conditions that are present in young children and teens are eating disorders, bipolar, conduct disorder, mood, alcohol and substance abuse, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts or actions.
Mental health in childhood means reaching development and emotional milestones, and learning healthy social skills and how to cope when there are problems. What you can do?
1. You know your child best; talk to your child’s healthcare professional if you have concerns about the way your child behaves at home, in school, or with friends, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are very important.
2. Insist on mental health screenings from your primary provider or pediatrician.
3. Learn about mental health, and how it is just as important as physical health. BREAK the stigma of mental health.
4. Contact your local state representative about your concerns with the fact that 41 of the 46 counties in South Carolina lack a mental health professional due to lack of funding.
Save the Date: Wednesday, May 4th at 11:00 a.m. and join the Federation of Families of South Carolina in recognizing Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week with a rally on the north steps of the South Carolina Statehouse. This year’s theme is: “Healthy Families, Resilient Children: Mental Health is a Family Affair!”
Like the George Jones song “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” let’s ensure the shoes that need to be filled are strong mentally healthy adults. After all, today’s children are going to be our future!
If you want to learn more about mental health, the effects, treatments and statistics there are several website you can visit:
www.nami.org (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
www.samhsa.gov (Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration)
www.ffcmh.org (National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health)