On top of May being named National Mental Health Awareness Month, the week of May 5th through May 11th is National Childrens Mental Health Awareness Week. Millions of American children suffer from Mental Health Disorders that include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Depression, Anxiety, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Autism, Bipolar Disorder, and even Schizophrenia, just to name a few.These disorders are sometimes even co-occuring, where more than one exists within a given child. These illnesses are real and effect children in many aspects of life from school, to home, to recreational activities. The Center for Disease Control, or CDC, estimates that somewhere between 3% to 7% of children who are of school age suffer from ADHD, but recent studies are suggesting even higher amounts in the range of 5% to 15%. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that about 11% of the population of kids age 13-18 have experienced Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and/or Dysthymic Disorder.
With these astounding statistics it is important that at least a week of the year be set aside for awareness of these serious issues. Environment, parenting deficits, and lack of knowledge may also be factors that perpetuate and exacerbate some of these issues. Without knowledge of how to handle a child with a mental health issues, parents, caretakers, and the community could be adding to the problem, even with their good intentions. It is extremely important that we all make ourselves more prepared to handle and help children with mental health disorders, as well as other children who are having a hard time coping with life in general. For additional information please click the link below