May is Mental Health Month
During Mental Health Month, we will shine a spotlight on National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on Thursday, May 5. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 5 children in the U.S. experiences a mental illness and half of all lifetime cases begin by age fourteen. Despite advances in care coordination, parents are primarily responsible for navigating the complex world of mental health. While coping with the daily challenges of raising a child with a mental or behavioral health need, parents must juggle multiple roles as caregiver, treatment locator, care coordinator, crisis manager and at-home interventionist, among others.
In the face of these challenges, parents of children with mental and behavioral health needs have forged a resilient, knowledgeable, and resourceful community to support other parents and share information. This is evident by the growth of parent support groups and family resources at the federal, state, and local levels, such as the Autism Speaks community and organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Family Voices, which connect families through their local chapters and peer-to-peer support groups. Additionally, in response to the active roles parents have taken in their children’s care, many hospitals and health care providers have developed care navigation programs run by families of children with mental/behavioral health needs to provide firsthand knowledge and support to new families.
This May, we invite you to remember these families and participate in the conversation by using #HeroesofHope on both Twitter and Facebook. Below are a few resources currently available to families.
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder
- American Academy of Pediatrics Mental Health Initiatives
- Department of Education’s Center for Parent Information and Resources
- Family Voices
- NAMI Resources
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Locator 1-800-662-4357