May 7 is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Did you know that about 1 in 5 children in New Hampshire have a diagnosable mental health disorder?  Even closer to home in our own community, almost 23% of the children ages 14 and older report having felt so sad or helpless almost everyday for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some of their usual activities.

In observance of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, our colleagues at NAMI NH have partnered with the NH Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative and other New Hampshire child and family agencies, to plan a number of “Children’s Mental Health Matters” awareness events.

This year’s main event will be a “Legislative Briefing: 1st Year Progress Report on the NH Children’s Behavioral Health Plan” to be held at the Legislative Office Building Rooms 205 and 207 on Thursday, May 7, 2014 from noon to 1:00 pm. This legislative briefing is being co-hosted by Representative Mary Gile, Representative Mary Beth Walz, Representative James MacKay, Senator Nancy Stiles and the NH Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative.

Starting at 2:30, also at the State House, will be a program featuring the following speakers:  Governor Maggie Hassan (invited); Effie Malley, Director of the NH Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative; Shawn Lafrance, Foundations for Health Communities; and Hannah Raiche, Coordinator, NH Youth M.O.V.E.

The goal of these events is 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.   They will promote the importance of:

  • Building resiliency in our children and youth;
  • Screening for emotional disorders in our children and youth; and
  • Early identification and intervention.
  • Research demonstrates that if screening is conducted the emotional needs of children and adolescents can result in identification and early intervention which can then avoid many years of pain and distress for our children, youth and families. This approach will ensure that our children and youth are able to meet their social/emotional developmental milestones

For more information on these events and others, visit www.naminh.org or www.nh4youth.org.

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