National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day (Awareness Day) is a key strategy of the
Caring for Every Child's Mental Health Campaign, which is part of the Public Awareness
and Support Strategic Initiative by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The effort
seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children's mental health and
that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development from birth.
In 2011, the national theme focused on building resilience in young children dealing with
trauma. More than 100 national organizations and 1,100 communities across the country
held their own Awareness Day events, focusing either on the national theme or
adapting the theme to the populations they serve.
This year, National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is Wednesday, May 9.
SAMHSA hopes to increase community involvement in 2012 by engaging local groups
in a national conversation about the importance of children's social and emotional
well-being. Local groups are also encouraged to offer individuals attending Awareness
Day events an opportunity to become a "hero of hope" by making a pledge to
take action to help a child or youth.
The national event that will be held in Washington, DC, on May 9 will carry the
message that, with the help of caring adults and informed child-serving systems,
young people can demonstrate resilience following traumatic experiences. The
national focus will look at the needs of children and youth ages birth to 18 in
systems including juvenile justice, child welfare, and education who have
experienced trauma. In addition, SAMHSA and the Awareness Day collaborating
organizations will continue to examine strategies to assist military families in
enhancing their resilience.
With the theme of "Heroes of Hope", the national event in Washington, DC, will
feature young people from across the U.S. who have demonstrated resilience
from trauma. Each youth will be asked to identify heroes, both personal and
high-profile, who have supported them through their experiences. The event
will feature performances in tribute to these heroes, and an award will be
presented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to a celebrity
Hero of Hope. A live webcast of the event will be posted on SAMHSA's
Web site via the Awareness Day page and will be archived for 6 months.