National Children’s Mental Health Day will be observed by communities across the nation Wednesday, a day that aims to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and stresses that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development. The national focus will look at the needs of children and youth ages birth to 18 in systems including juvenile justice, child welfare and education who have experienced trauma. This year’s theme is “Heroes of Hope.”
“It’s providing hope to children who struggle with mental illness,” said Evelyn Southers, behavioral health rehabilitation specialist with Mental Health Services of Southern Oklahoma.
“To help them understand it’s OK to have a mental illness.”
Last year, more than 1,100 communities had events for Awareness Day. Events included community activities, youth rallies, social media campaigns, and art, dance, and music related activities for children and youth. In Ardmore, the day will be observed 4-7 p.m. at MHSSO, 2530 South Commerce St.
MHSSO has invited children who have received services from the agency to a celebration, “Caring for Every Children’s Mental Health,” in their honor.
It’s estimated that 4 million children and adolescents in this country suffer from a serious mental disorder that causes significant functional impairments at home, at school and with peers. Of children ages nine to 17, 21 percent have a diagnosable mental disorder that causes at least minimal impairment.