Promoting Children’s Mental Health Awareness
Kentuckians Encouraging Youth to Succeed (KEYS), a part of the Department for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addiction Services, will gather Saturday, May 9, at the Newport Aquarium to emphasize the importance of children’s mental health awareness.
Youth involved with the KEYS program along with students from Covington Holmes High School’s modeling club will conduct a fashion show and education event to promote awareness and reach out to their peer groups. The event will be at 5:30 p.m. at the aquarium. Tickets are required for entry, but the event is open to all media.
“Awareness of mental health issues, particularly for children, adolescents and teenagers, is important as we move forward in the recognition of mental health, accessible and affordable treatment, and erasing the stigma attached to mental illness,” said Devon Lindsey, KEYS marketing specialist. “Northern Kentucky teens want to show their peers that it’s possible to thrive when youth with mental concerns have the right supports and services available.”
An original educational video produced by students from The Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati profiling youth in the show will be featured. Additionally, program participants will stage a fashion show showcasing a variety of fashions in the shade of green – the color symbolizing children’s mental health awareness – donated by Plato’s Closet, with hair and make-up from Art Institute students.
The goal of the event is to reach out to teens in northern Kentucky, bringing children’s mental health issues to the forefront. Ultimately, the program aims to help young people feel comfortable addressing mental health needs.
“One in five children and adolescents has a mental health disorder, and one in 10 has a serious emotional disturbance, but many of our young people don’t know how to seek help,” said Lindsey. “We have to erase the stigma attached to mental illness so that our young people can get the help they need and thrive in the community.”
In addition to the KEYS event, Gov. Steve Beshear also took part in emphasizing the need for more awareness and education about children’s mental health issues, calling attention to National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on May 7 by officially proclaiming the observance in Kentucky.
MHDDAS and KEYS encourage more Kentuckians to join in these education and outreach efforts, particularly any young person with a mental health need who wants to seek help. Mental health issues in children and adolescents can interfere with daily life at home, at school or in the community. Without treatment, children with mental health disorders are at a higher risk for failure at school, contact with the criminal justice system and suicide.