Date(s) - 05/05/2016 - 05/06/2016
May is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month and May 5th is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. ACMH will kick off our month long celebration by ‘Coming Together’ with families, community partners and policymakers at the 2016 ACMH Annual Conference. The ACMH conference was designed as a venue for parents and professionals to learn and work together to help improve outcomes for all children and youth with mental health challenges and their families. Even though much progress has been made throughout the years, families continue to face barriers in accessing the level of supports and services their children need to be successful in their home, school and community; The facts remain that:
- One in five children suffer from a mental health challenge. Yet less than 20% of those affected get the supports and services they need.
- 1 in 10 youth have a mental health problem that is severe enough to significantly impair how they function at home, in school and the community.
- One-third of adolescents show symptoms of depression and 21% of youth aged 13-18 live with mental illness severe enough to cause significant impairment in their day-to-day lives.
- Over 50% of students aged 14 or older with severe mental health challenges drop out of high school. The highest dropout rate of any disability group.
- 70% of youth in state and local juvenile justice systems have mental illness, with at least 20% experiencing severe symptoms. At the same time, juvenile facilities often fail to adequately address the mental health needs of youth.
- Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and three quarters by age 24. Early identification & intervention works by improving outcomes, before conditions become far more serious, more costly and difficult to treat.
- Most low to middle income countries have 1 child psychiatrist to 1-4 million people.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 12-18 and 10-24 year olds.
The message is clear. There is still much work to do! This year’s national awareness day theme, “Finding Help, Finding Hope” explores strategies for improving access to behavioral health services and supports for children, youth, and young adults with mental and substance use disorders and their families. As national events and local efforts continue to focus on the need for mental health reform, we must increase our efforts to educate others not only about the importance of prevention & early identification of mental health challenges and access to home and community based services, but most importantly, the importance of supporting strong families, resilient children and empowered youth. Only by partnering with, listening to and learning from individuals and families who live with mental health challenges can we truly continue to improve mental health in Michigan.
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day provides us with an occasion to celebrate all of the things we have accomplished by working together and an opportunity to continue to educate and inform others that Children’s Mental Health Matters! Please take a moment today to consider how YOU can help inform others about children’s mental health on Awareness Day and throughout the year. Together we can increase awareness, and create positive change! Contact ACMH today or visit the ACMH website www.acmh-mi.org to learn how you can help make a difference.
*Facts adapted from information from the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Education, the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, National Center for Mental Health & Juvenile Justice, National Institutes for Mental Health, SAMHSA, World Health Organization & Fact Sheets from, NAMI & the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.