For Immediate Release
May 2, 2019
A record 850+ organizations, agencies and schools will come together to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, held on May 5-11, is an annual outreach effort of the Children’s Mental Health Matters! Campaign, coordinated by the Mental Health Association of Maryland and the Maryland Coalition of Families with support from the Maryland Department of Health–Behavioral Health Administration, to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, let parents know they are not alone in caring for children with mental health needs and connect Maryland families with resources and services to help their child.
This year, the Children’s Mental Health Matters! Campaign is joined by more than 850 School and Community Champions to promote the week through events, awareness tools and resources.
Kari Gorkos, senior director, public education and programs, Mental Health Association of Maryland, said, “This year we have our biggest ever group of Champions from every corner of the state dedicated to spreading a common message: every child’s mental health matters. The response to the campaign is phenomenal. We believe this is a sign that interest and awareness about mental health continues to grow. Because of our Champions, we can reach and help kids who are struggling with depression, feel anxiety or just need someone to talk to.”
Kids throughout Maryland face many mental health challenges in school, at home and in their community, no matter their demographic group, education, income level, race or culture. In fact, in Maryland, as many as one in five children experience a mental, emotional or behavioral health problem before the age of 18. Factors that contribute to mental health issues such as bullying are also becoming more common; 28 percent of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying and 71 percent of young people said they have seen bullying in their schools.
This awareness week aims to reduce the stigma that children and families with mental health issues face and encourage everyone to learn how they can promote good mental health.
Jane Plapinger, executive director of the Maryland Coalition of Families, said, “We are delighted that so many schools and community organizations signed up to be Champions this year. It is critical that
families receive information about children’s mental health, so they know that mental health issues in children are common and treatable, especially with early identification and intervention.”
The week is highlighted by a series of events that will both educate on mental health and celebrate the positivity of expression. (Go here for the full events calendar.)
- A selection of children’s artwork will be showcased at the Celebrating through Art: The First Lady’s Mental Health Awareness Youth Art Display Reception in Annapolis on May 6.
- A Children’s Mental Health Awareness Fair in Cambridge on May 9
- National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on May 9, which encourages people to wear green in support of mental health awareness
- Experts from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will hold a workshop on Anxiety, Depression and Irritability in Children and Adolescents on May 10 in Baltimore.
- A Come Out and Play resource event in Prince George’s County on May 10 for families, caregivers and advocates
- A annual flash mob celebrating mental health awareness held at UMBC on April 30 kicked off the week.
The Children’s Mental Health Matters! Campaign website features a comprehensive collection of free resources for educators, parents, kids and others who care for children, including:
- A Family Resource Kit with numerous fact sheets on topics ranging from depression, anxiety, bullying and suicide to substance abuse, trauma, crisis services and more
- An Educator Resource Kit with fact sheets on topics that are more focused toward people who work with children
- Resources for kids and teenagers who have questions about mental health
About the Children’s Mental Health Matters! Campaign
Now in its 11th year, the Children’s Mental Health Matters! Campaign is coordinated by the Mental Health Association of Maryland and the Maryland Coalition of Families with support from the Maryland Department of Health–Behavioral Health Administration. Learn more at www.ChildrensMentalHealthMatters.org.