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As the general public is made more and more aware of the mental health needs children may have, the opportunity is more available for earlier diagnosis of mental health difficulties. And when this happens, it is more likely that a child will get access to the care and support they need.

This proactive approach is what the observance of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is all about!

History of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

The origins of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day can be traced back to 2005 when it was founded by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the United States. The purpose of establishing and observing this day is to raise awareness and provide opportunities for education about the risk of mental health issues or illnesses in children and youth.

Events on this day may take place independently, or activities and events may be developed in collaboration with Children’s Mental Health Acceptance week, which may be celebrated from May 7-13.

Each year, the SAMHSA organizes a campaign to promote Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, which includes themes that go along with the topic and need. Some of the themes that have been featured in the past include: “Accept. Advocate. Act.” and “Suicide Prevention: Strategies that Work.”

How to Observe Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Those looking for ways to observe and get involved with Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day events might want to consider some of these to get started:

Get Involved with Local Activities

Each community, city and state may offer different opportunities and activities for getting involved with Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. For instance, the organization, Families Together in New York State, organizes opportunities to nominate someone “great in our state” to recognize the contributions of youth workers, caregivers, community support organizations and more.

Other local activities might include the opportunity to attend educational events, seminars, festivals and more in promotion and awareness of the important topic of children’s mental health.

Host a Children’s Mental Health Event

Don’t have any local activities that are taking place in honor of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day? Consider starting one! Grab a few friends with some organizational skills and a passion to help kids in need, and then host an event for families that offers lectures, awareness opportunities, seminars, access to resources and much more.

Consider Children’s Mental Health Statistics

Those who aren’t clear on the importance of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day might want to consider some statistics and information that reveals the wide gap between the needs children have and the services they are provided. Check out some of these facts about children’s mental health:

  • Nearly 20% of children (ages 3-17) struggle with a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder.

  • Suicidal behavior among high school students increased by more than 40% in the decade before 2019.

  • Up to 80% of children in foster care have significant mental health issues.

  • Mental health related emergency visits for children increased up to 30% in recent years, particularly during the pandemic.

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