May 6th is National Mental Health Day for Children

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A report that came out just recently by the National Center for Children in Poverty shows that one in five children has a diagnosable mental health disorder. That is why May 6th is an important date as it is Children's Mental Health Awareness Day.

Mike Brose, executive director of the Mental Health Association in Tulsa, said he's not surprised that one in five children are effected with mental health issues. "I think, keep in mind it's to varying degrees, a lot of our kids have a lot of issues and concerns and some of those involve a mental disorder of some type," Brose said. Mental Health Awareness Day for children is, "A way to remind people that it's out there and it's OK," Brose said. "It's important to ask for help, and it's OK to ask for help."

Beverly Moore, community relations coordinator at the Associated Centers for Therapy, said, "A lot of people aren't aware that there are services available for children that can keep them in school and home." She stated, "One of the things that's important for us to think about is trying to lessen the stigma of children that have mental health issues," she said. "It's an illness just like any other illness. If a child has diabetes they're treated with dignity and respect."

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There are so many challenges for individuals with mental illness seeking treatment. Ever present are issues such as stigma, undiagnosed illness and limited access to appropriate services -- all significant hurdles for individuals, families and providers of care. However, it has been proven time and time again that treatment for mental illness works and people can recover.

“The theme of Mental Health Month this year is social connectedness, which is an essential component of maintaining mental health and wellness," says Tess Medina, administrative director of the Behavioral Health Department at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. "There are many ways of creating connections that support mental health, which include family and friends, members of the community, and professional assistance."

In our world today, there more known about the causes of mental illness and between 70 to 90 percent of people challenged by mental illness experience a significant reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life when participating in treatment.

Mental Health Month was created more than 50 years ago to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness for all. National Mental Health Awareness month is a great time for people to check in with their local agencies to see what programs and treatments are available for not only the affected person with mental health issues, but for the families that are involved.

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