Join NASP in Celebrating May as Mental Health Awareness Month

By Skalski, Anastasia Kalamaros | National Association of School Psychologists. Communique, May 2011 | Go to article overview

Join NASP in Celebrating May as Mental Health Awareness Month


Skalski, Anastasia Kalamaros, National Association of School Psychologists. Communique


For more than 70 years, mental health professionals have been celebrating May as "Mental Health Awareness Month." NASP will join our mental health colleagues again this year in a variety of activities designed to bring greater awareness to the importance of mental wellness programs and school-based services for students with mental health needs.

OnMay3,2Oii,thousands of individuals and organizations in Americawill kick off Mental Health Awareness Month by participating in the National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. The primary mission of the national day is to increase awareness about children's mental health. The theme for this year's national event is "Garing for Every Child's Mental Health" and will specifically address building resilience for young children dealing with trauma.

NATIONAL ACTIVITIES

Funds for the national activities and programs associated with National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day (Awareness Day) are provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),resources from otherfederal agencies, andthe donations of national professional organizations. The executive planning group for this event is made up of representatives from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, and Zero to Three. NASP joins 51 other organizations as supporters of this event.

The national activities being sponsored as part of the Awareness Day celebration include an art exhibit hosted by the American Art Therapy Association and a starstudded tribute to the resiliency of youth who have dealt with and overcome trauma in their childhood. This tribute will be held in the Shakespeare Theatre-Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, DC. Additionally, a U.S. Congressional briefing will be held in conjunction with the House Mental Health Caucus and will ask policy makers for their support of HR 751, the Mental Health in the Schools Act, sponsored by Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA-38). This bill promotes comprehensive school-based mental health programs through an infusion of funding for the Safe Schools, Healthy Students program and an expansion of that program's purpose beyond school violence prevention to mental health promotion and prevention. You can send a letter to your elected officials requesting their support of this bill through the Advocacy Action Center (http://capwiz.com/naspweb/home).

NASP NEEDS YOU TO PARTICIPATE IN THE NATIONAL CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS DAY ACTIVITIES

State organizations, school districts, and individual practitioners are invited to participate in Mental Health Awareness Month by sponsoring your own awareness events. This is a terrific opportunity for state school psychology organizations to lead or partner with other educators in sponsoring mental wellness promotion and/or prevention activities and disseminating related materials and/or resources. In the past, state associations have used this event as a month to launch school mental health campaigns including advertisements, newspaper articles, radio and television segments, and dissemination of information about children's mental health, or even legislative activities such as participating in bills or legislative briefings focusing on children's mental health. Individuals and school districts can participate by featuring mental health promotion and prevention activities such as making school announcements, distributing NASP handouts addressing student mental health needs, putting articles in district and school newspapers, handing out flyers at a local grocery store or mall, or doing presentations on children's mental health needs for parents and school faculty. …

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