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National Children’s Mental Health Day

   Each year, during the first week of May, we celebrate the importance of children’s
mental health. The week ends with National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day which
looks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and determine that
positive Mental Health is essential to a child’s healthy development.

The past 12 months have been challenging for many, but particularly challenging for
children. Although children and youths have been able to spend more time with their
caregivers, many are grieving the loss of peer interaction, social connection, and time spent in
person with other vital, caring adults in their lives. These can be extended family, educators,
therapists, neighbors, and other community members. Many have also had to miss out on
important rites of passage and/or lost loved ones along the way. Before 2020, one in every five
youths in the general population met the criteria for a mental disorder and these numbers have
only increased in the past year. However, there are still stigmas and discrimination associated
with mental illness and that poses a large barrier for seeking help and treatment. That is why
this year’s theme is “Flip the Script on Mental Health.”

Flipping the script signifies changing the way we talk about mental health. If we start to
talk about mental health the way we talk about physical health, we can shift the focus to be on
staying healthy and taking care of ourselves instead of the current script that mental health is
only for those who struggle with disorders. It is important that we teach children from an early
age the importance of caring for our mental health so that they can learn to recognize their
emotions and feelings. So that they can be prepared even when facing adversity or loss.
Teaching them to not be hesitant to reach out and connect with others and create healthy
routines to take care of themselves. It is vital that we ensure our children have the support they
need to grow up safe, healthy, developmentally and academically prepared to live their best
lives. In order to achieve this, we must first break down the negative stigma that surrounds
asking for help and push for mental health to be just as imperative as physical health.

Here at Lotus Counseling, we work with clients to ensure that families and children have
support to care for and strengthen their children’s mental health – even more so than during
this past year as we have seen an explosion in the number of children and families grappling
with mental health challenges. We want to work together to teach our children that
experiencing mental health challenges during their lifetime is not uncommon and that it is not
just something to cope with alone, but to also realize it is important to ask for help if and when
it is needed.
To find further information about National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day,
related resources, and events and to learn more about mental health for young people, you can
visit these websites:

• Office of Adolescent Health, Adolescent Mental Health
• Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health
• Youth.gov, Youth Mental Health Topic

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