Please join us in a national dialogue about the importance of children's mental health
in an effort to raise awareness and end prejudice and discrimination.
Children's Mental Health Matters!
Perhaps the fourth most popular topic in U.S. news last year – after COVID-19, racial injustice, and the presidential election – was mental health. A positive outcome of these uniquely challenging times is that we are aware of and talking about our mental health more than ever. Our country is uniquely primed to challenge myths, biases, and discrimination about what mental health is - and what it is not. We see this as an opportunity to change the way we think about our own mental health and that of others.
While everyone has been impacted by the events of the last 12 months, they have been particularly distressing for children and youth – perhaps even more so for those who already experience mental health challenges. Our children and youth have been able to spend more time with their parents or primary caregivers, however, many are grieving the loss of peer interaction, social connection, and time spent in person with other vital, caring adults in their lives such as extended family, educators, therapists, neighbors, and other community members. Many of them have missed out on important rites of passage
and lost loved ones or friends as well.
As we focus on the emotional wellbeing of children and youth during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (CMHAW), we see this as an opportunity to change hearts, minds, and attitudes regarding mental health. To that end, the 2021 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is “Flip the Script on Mental Health.”
Addressing the mental health needs of children is the responsibility of all community members. Children and youth learn from their parents, caregivers, family members, teachers, doctors – the adults they are taught to respect and rely on. In these roles, we impact how children and youth think about and care for their own mental health and how they treat others who have mental health challenges. We have our work cut out for us. Now is the time to shape a brighter, healthier future for the next generation.
When you ask someone what they think of when we use the term mental health, it is not uncommon for people to say things like, “Depression, anxiety, suicide, therapy or medication.” Alternatively, when you ask what they think of when you say physical health, people answer, “Exercise, good nutrition and getting plenty of rest.” Herein lies the problem. According to MentalHealth.gov, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.” That said, our perception of mental health and learning to care for it –
like we do our physical health – begins in childhood. It's time to flip the script!
This CMHAW, we hope to educate individuals and communities about the importance of teaching children and youth:
1. That caring for their mental health is a vital part of living a healthy, fulfilling life.
2. That experiencing mental health challenges during their lifetime is not uncommon (1 in 5) and that it is not just ok, but it is important, to ask for help when they do.
3. To offer acceptance, support and respect for others who have mental health challenges in their lives and communities.
Explore our past National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week resources and tools below
and look for new and updated materials for the 2021 campaign in the coming weeks.
Children's Mental Health Awareness Week - May 2nd through 8th, 2021
Save the date and join the conversation!