National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
Also known as
Thursday of the first full week in May (since 2005)
National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is a day that "shines a national spotlight on the importance of caring for every child's mental health and reinforces that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development." Created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the day's purpose is "to increase public awareness about the needs of children with serious mental illness (SMI) and severe emotional disturbance (SED) and their families, provide information on evidence-based practices, and encourage those who need help to seek treatment."
SAMHSA hosts an event in Washington, D.C. each year, having first done so in 2005, after systems of care funded by SAMHSA said that a national event would support what they were doing on the local level. Today, community events are held across the country. Over 1,100 communities have officially participated in a wide variety of events focusing on children's mental health. National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day has grown over the years, and it has helped to facilitate and strengthen relationships between national level organizations and community organizations.
How to Observe National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
One way to celebrate the day is to attend the official event in Washington, D.C. If you can't make that event, you could attend a community event taking place near you. Events don't only take place on the day, they take place throughout the whole month.
You could also host an event in your community. Some community event ideas that SAMHSA has suggested include organizing a mental health resource fair; hosting a film screening and panel discussion; or organizing a fun run, walk, or rally. SAMHSA has also provided the following materials to help with planning an event:
- Social Media Tips
- Sample Social Media Guidelines
- Digital Media Best Practices
- Digital Media FAQ
- Media Outreach Tools
- Event Planning Checklist
- Identifying and Involving Local Program Partners
SAMHSA has provided graphics to help promote your event on social media. You should also submit your event to SAMHSA so they can promote it. If you are unable to host or attend an event, you could still post on social media to raise awareness, or learn more about children's mental health, perhaps by reading a book on the topic.