Since 1949, May has been observed as National Mental Health Month. Mental Health Month raises awareness of trauma and the impact it can have on the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children, families, and communities.
When looking at rates of exposure to traumatic events, a nationally representative survey reported that among 12- to 17-year-old youth, 39 percent reported witnessing violence, 17 percent reported physical assault, and 8 percent reported a lifetime prevalence of sexual assault1. Caregivers can buffer the impact of traumatic events and promote better outcomes for youth. With help from families, friends, providers, and other Heroes of Hope, children and youth can be resilient when dealing with trauma. Learn more here.
Heroes of Hope
The seventh annual National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (Awareness Day), sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will celebrate “Heroes of Hope,” sharing the message that, with the help of caring adults and informed child-serving systems, youth can demonstrate resilience despite having experienced a traumatic event. More than 1,100 communities and 130 Federal programs and national organizations across the country will participate in events, youth demonstrations, and social networking campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of children's mental health in observance of Awareness Day. On May 9, 2012, a national event will complement local activities around the country:
National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day: Heroes of Hope
Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University
730 21st Street, NW
The tribute will include a special focus on youth in juvenile justice, child welfare, and education systems, as well as youth in military families. Each youth will be asked to identify heroes who have supported them through their experiences. The event will feature performances by National Endowment for the Arts grantees in tribute to these “Heroes of Hope.”
A recognition award will be presented to musician and Honorary Event Chair Cyndi Lauper for her work through her foundation, the True Colors Fund, on behalf of youth who are homeless and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Other event participants include: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder; Joint Surgeon of the National Guard Bureau, Major General Joseph K. Martin; Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Administrator Pamela Hyde; Administration for Children and Families Acting Assistant Secretary George Sheldon; and Leon Harris, Evening Anchor Washington DC WJLA.
To learn more about the Awareness Day national event and to RSVP, click here. If you don't live near Washington, DC, the tribute will be webcast nationally on May 9 from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. and can be viewed here. It will be archived on the website for six months.
How you can help
You can help youth link up with Awareness Day by inviting them to participate in the Heroes of Hope Flickr Challenge. From April 1 through May 31, they can upload a photo of their hero, a photo with their hero, or a creative photo of a landscape or object that represents their hero to Flickr using the tag “Heroes of Hope.” The photo caption should describe why that person is their hero. Twenty photos from the Challenge will be linked to from SAMHSA’s Awareness Day Web page.
Learn how you can be a hero of hope.
Click here for more information about how you can help youth in your community join the Heroes of Hope Flickr Challenge.
To host an Awareness Day 2012 activity, submit a pledge form to share your plans with SAMHSA and the Caring for Every Child's Mental Health Campaign team.
View highlights of what communities are already planning for Awareness Day 2012.
For further information about National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day and related resources and events, visit:
Office of Adolescent Health, Adolescent Mental Health
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration Mental Health Services Locator
FindYouthInfo.gov’s Mental Health Youth Topic
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. April 2012 Social Media Message. Accessed from: http://www.samhsa.gov/children/social_media_apr2012.asp
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