We received “National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day” information this week from our colleagues at the Hamilton County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.
This is a very important topic for us, too. I often say that mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence are behind the overwhelming majority of child abuse and neglect cases we encounter. And that abuse and neglect often leads our children to need help for mental disorders.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness,
- Four 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 9 to 17, 21 percent have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that causes at least minimal impairment.
- In any given year, only 20 percent of children with mental disorders are identified and receive mental health services.
- The consequences of untreated mental disorders are suicide, school failure, criminal justice involvement and higher health care utilization.
This is a serious public problem. We see it every day.
May 8 is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. I plan to wear a green ribbon that day. In the 1800s, the color green was used to designate someone “insane.” The mental health community has turned that on its head and now uses green to signify new growth and beginnings.
Please join me on May 8! Let’s bring awareness to this very important issue.