Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

May 9, 2013

Once again, APA is a proud national supporter of SAMHSA’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, which seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health so that children may get help for mental health disorders with the same urgency as any other health condition and, ultimately, to reduce the impact of mental illness on America’s communities. Awareness Day seeks to communicate that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth.

This year, most Awareness Day events are going to be virtual. Help promote Children's Mental Health Awareness Day by sending an e-card to those in your community. You can also follow tweets related to children’s mental health using #HeroesofHope. Please visit SAMHSA's National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day website for resources for promoting and planning Awareness Day activities in your area.


Legislative Briefing — Promising Strategies for Treating Children and Young Adults with Mental Illness

May 7, 2013
Location: Rayburn House Office Building, B-338
Time: 9 a.m.-10 a.m., Breakfast Briefing

The briefing will focus on strategies for improving the lives of children and adolescents, including transitioned-aged youth, who have behavioral or mental health issues. National mental health experts will offer unique perspectives on how traumatic events affect a child’s development, how to better coordinate care and services, and what treatment options exist for mentally ill children through the public health system.

After experiencing their first episode of psychosis, a mentally ill person will wait two years before seeking treatment. According to a 2009 Institute of Medicine report, half of individuals with a mental health diagnosis first experience it by age 14, but do not seek treatment, on average, until the age of 24. Since emotional and behavioral disorders first appear in childhood, early intervention programs have been shown to produce better outcomes and reduce ongoing costs.

The briefing panel includes:

  • Anthony Mannarino, PhD, (APA member), NCTSN Trauma Center co-director at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa.

  • JoAnne M. Malloy, PhD, clinical assistant professor, Institute of Disability, University of New Hampshire 

  • Kana Enomoto, principal deputy administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 

  • Dylan Zimdahl, Youth, Savannah, Ga.

Press Briefing — National Children’s Mental Health Awareness

May 7, 2013
Location: The Theater of Performing Arts, University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Time: 10 a.m.-11 a.m.

During the briefing, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will present chart-dominating singer, songwriter and actress Demi Lovato with an award for her work as a mentor to young adults with mental health and substance use challenges. Together with SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, they will focus on the importance of social connectedness-a sense of community-in enhancing resilience in young adults with mental health and substance use challenges at home, school, work and in accessing health care services.

Entry to the briefing is free and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The event will also be available via live webcast.

Speak Up for Kids

Once again, APA is a proud partner in the national Speak Up For Kids campaign. Throughout May, the campaign will draw attention to the barriers to mental health care experienced by children and their families. Speak Up For Kids has invited leaders from a wide array of professional disciplines, including psychology, to contribute to the conversation with streamed talks and roundtable discussions, videos and written pieces.

Suicidal Youth and Their Families: Overcoming Barriers to Receiving Help — APA’s marquee event webcast
APA President-Elect, Nadine Kaslow, PhD
May 15, 2013
Time: 9 a.m.

Please visit the helpcenter's Children's Mental Health Month page for more information on APA's participation in Speak Up for Kids.  

APA Resources on Trauma and Violence

APA is well aware of the impact of trauma and violence on children’s mental health and has a longstanding commitment to addressing issues of concern to practitioners, researchers, educators and the general public. The following resources are dedicated to shedding light on these issues:

Children and Trauma: Update for Mental Health Professionals
Many children are exposed to traumatic life events, such as abuse, school violence, car accidents or terrorism. Short-term distress is common but most children and adolescents show resilience. This 16-page booklet provides a brief overview for mental health professionals on:

  • What we know about PTSD and trauma in children and adolescents

  • How you can help children, adolescents and their families cope and recover from trauma 

  • What we still need to learn about the complexities of PTSD and trauma

  • Additional resources for professionals

Children and Trauma: Tips for Mental Health Professionals

In their roles as clinicians, scientists, teachers and community members, mental health professionals can make a difference in the way our society responds to child trauma. This tip sheet serves as a practical guide for professionals on:

  • Basic information every mental health professional should know about PTSD and trauma in children and adolescents

  • How to identify PTSD and/or trauma and provide care to children, adolescents and their families

  • Pitfalls to avoid when you encounter trauma and PTSD in children and adolescents

Child Trauma Fact Sheet (PDF, 126KB)
Child traumatic stress occurs when children and adolescents are exposed to traumatic events or traumatic situations, and when this exposure overwhelms their ability to cope with what they have experienced. This fact sheet provides an overview of the kinds of traumatic events experienced by children.

Trauma and PTSD in Children and Adolescents Fact Sheet (PDF, 65KB) 
This fact sheet serves as a functional guide for policymakers on the following:

  • Impact of exposure to trauma on children and adolescents

  • The best approach to policymaking that will improve outcomes for youth exposed to trauma

  • Recommendations in the areas of research, practice, education and training

ACT (Adults & Children Together) Against Violence Program
The ACT program’s mission is to mobilize communities and educate families to create safe, nurturing, healthy environments that protect children and youth from violence and its consequences. APA is committed to making psychological knowledge and findings on violence prevention available to mobilize communities, organizations and professionals to help families apply them in their daily lives. 

Report on Child Maltreatment Prevention in Community Health Centers
This report identifies and recommends public health strategies and interventions based on the best available science to prevent child maltreatment and to promote positive parenting practices within the context of behavioral health integration at community health centers.

Additional Relevant Resources