Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day recognized on May 11

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 3:20 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - May 11 has been recognized as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Behavioral Health (DBH).

The DHHS said Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health, the prevalence of mental health challenges in society and the resources that are available to those in need of assistance.

Throughout the month of May, various organizations and mental health professionals will be coming together to host events that promote access to resources and services, raises awareness about the warning signs of mental health challenges, and reduces any negativity associated with seeking help for mental health concerns.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six children in the United States (U.S.), between two to eight years old has a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. A U.S. survey conducted in 2018-2019 reported that 36.7% of adolescents aged 12-17 years had persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness. These disorders can have an impact on children and adolescents’ development, learning, and overall well-being.

The CDC has provided some positive parenting tips to help with children’s mental health and overall well-being.

Children age 0-5:

  • Read to or with your child daily.
  • Encourage them to try new things and explore their world.
  • Give praise when they follow instructions and show positive behaviors.
  • Let them help with simple chores.
  • Help them navigate the steps to solve problems when they are upset or frustrated.

Children age 6-11:

  • Show affection and recognize accomplishments.
  • Help them develop a sense of responsibility by helping with age-appropriate household chores.
  • Talk about school, their friends, building healthy relationships, and respecting others.
  • Help your child learn patience by finishing a task before going out to play. Encourage them to think about possible consequences before acting.
  • Do fun things together as a family, such as playing games, reading, and going to events in the community.

Children age 12-17:

  • Show interest in your teen’s school life, friends, and any extracurricular activities.
  • Compliment your teen and celebrate their efforts and accomplishments.
  • Help your teen make wise choices.
  • Respect your teen’s thoughts and feelings. It is important that they know you are listening.
  • When there is conflict, be clear about goals and expectations but allow them to give input on how to achieve these goals.
  • Respect your teen’s need for privacy and encourage them to get enough sleep and exercise while eating healthy and balanced meals.

If you or a loved one is in need of assistance, reach out to:

  • The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline; call, text, or chat 988
  • Your faith-based leader, your healthcare professional, or your student health center on campus.
  • Nebraska Family Helpline – Any question, any time. (888) 866-8660
  • Rural Response Hotline, (800) 464-0258
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (oprime dos para Español) or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)