Today more than 1,100 communities across the country will join forces to celebrate National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.
Awareness Day is a key strategy of the federal Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health Campaign, an effort to highlight the importance of positive mental health from birth. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, and behavioral issues, if left unattended, can evolve to more serious problems later in life, including physical difficulties. However, when we intervene early and connect children and families with effective services and supports, emotional challenges can be addressed and the entire family’s life can improve.
Studies show that at least one in five children and adolescents has had or is experiencing a mental health challenge. Sometimes we blame parents or tell our children to “Just handle it.” At least one third of our children, youth and their families do not receive help to address their issues. With the right resources, children and youth with mental, emotional and behavioral health needs and their families can achieve a better quality of life. When untreated, however, mental health issues can lead to school failure, family conflicts, drug abuse, violence, and even suicide. Untreated mental illness disorders can be very costly to families, schools, communities, and the health care system. The life changing results of early intervention and evidenced-based treatments are estimated to save society between $30,000 and $100,000 per child.
In Delaware we work diligently to address the needs of children, youth and families from birth through age 18. We are particularly focused on our youngest population, children between the ages of birth to 5, and their families. Through Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation in early education centers and through the provision of specific counseling approaches and effective treatment, such as Parent Child Interaction Therapy, we are supporting families in living healthier, happier lives.
For more information about children’s mental health services in Delaware call the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services at 1-800-722-7710 or visit www.kids.delaware.gov. Emotional health is as important as physical health – Every Child’s Mental Health Matters!