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National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

May 6, 2010

Child Mental Health Matters

The Indian Health Service (IHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and other agencies are working together to promote the awareness of children's mental health issues and improve mental health programs for children.

The fifth annual National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day will focus on child and youth development, resilience, and recovery and will highlight the need to improve mental health services delivery for children and youth with mental health needs and their families. The key message this year is that "positive mental health is essential to child's healthy development from birth." In order to promote this message communities are encouraged to

  • integrate mental health into every environment that impacts child development from birth;
  • nurture the social and emotional well-being of children from birth; and
  • look for and discuss milestones of children's social and emotional development from birth.

Child mental health issues are particularly acute in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. Many Native children face high rates of poverty, trauma and violence, morbidity and mortality, and exposure to adverse chemicals (maternal use of alcohol and various illicit drugs) during fetal development, all of which, present difficult obstacles to normal childhood development.

Some Resources for Parents and Communities