Children's Mental Health Awareness Week

May 5-11, 2013

The Center for School Mental Health (CSMH) is pleased to be partnering at the national, state, and local levels to advance children's mental health awareness. To raise awareness, numerous programs, organizations and communities around the country are joining together to promote positive mental health, well-being, and social development for children and youth of all ages.

In the State of Maryland, the Children’s Mental Health Matters! Campaign is a collaboration of the Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD) and the Maryland Coalition of Families (MCF) with support from the Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration and MD CARES. The Campaign goal, with over 80 partners across the state, is to raise public awareness of the importance of children’s mental health. The Center for School Mental Health (CSMH) at the University of Maryland is providing support for the 2013 School Champion project. The Maryland campaign has developed some practical resources for Children's Mental Health Matters! that are posted on the CSMH website.

See Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Lillian Lowery's video about the Campaign: http://media.msde.state.md.us/2013/LILLIAN/MH.mov

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (May 9, 2013), created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, seeks to communicate that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth. This year’s Awareness Day will focus on young children from birth to 8 years old by emphasizing the need to build resilience in young children dealing with trauma.

The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health declares the first full week in May as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. This week is dedicated to increasing public awareness about the triumphs and challenges in children’s mental health and emphasizing the importance of family and youth involvement in the children’s mental health movement!

This year the Maryland Coalition of Families (MCF) for Children's Mental Health recognized a student from CSMH's Prince George's School Mental Health Initiative for her incredible poster for Children's Mental Health Awareness Week. We encourage everyone interested in participating to use this flyer to spread awareness. MCF is also starting the 2013 Children's Mental Health Matters! Campaign to spread the word.

The Campaign needs your help and is inviting Maryland schools to participate by becoming a Children’s Mental Health Matters! School Champion!  To get involved, we would like you to ask your staff if anyone would be willing to be a School Champion Coordinator (or Team).  The Coordinator will be responsible for organizing at least one awareness raising or educational event for your school during Awareness Week (May 5 – 11, 2013). Ideas and templates for potential events and activities will be emailed to you. You can go to https://umbpsychiatry.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5dJgoFqO8eipcGx to pledge your school’s commitment to children’s mental health. The CSMH has also compiled a list of ideas of how to get involved in school mental health related awareness activities.

During Children’s Mental Health Awareness week, it is important to recognize the critical role and value of school mental health in helping all youth to be successful. The CSMH research report, The Impact of School Mental Health: Educational, Emotional, and Behavioral Outcomes, provides a one page summary of key highlights of the impact of school mental health and a more detailed nine page summary of the literature, including empirical findings and a reference list. Below are some basic facts related to school mental health that can be shared to raise awareness about school mental health.

  •  Between 14-20% of children and adolescents experience a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder each year, however less than one-third of these youth will receive any treatment to address these concerns.  
  • Of youth who do access mental health services, approximately 75% receive those services in schools.
  • School mental health programs have a positive impact across academic, social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes in children and adolescents. For example, studies show:
    • Improvements in behavioral and emotional symptoms
    • Increases in social competency
    • Increases in standardized reading and math test scores
    • Improvements in commitment to school  
    • Increases in school attendance 
    • Increases in grade point average 


Helpful Handouts:


Additional Resources

The state superintendent created a video about children's mental health matters school champions. We encourage everyone to view and share the video to spread children's mental health awareness.
Video 1 - Video 2

Children's Mental Health Matters! A Maryland Public Education Campaign developed a resource kit for families, an extensive list of tips for schools, and other resources for youth, families, and schools to browse to get involved during this nationally recognized week. The CSMH is pleased to be a partner with the Maryland Coalition of Families and the Mental Health Association of Maryland and other agencies and organizations on this campaign.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) compiled information, facts and resources for schools, youth, and families related to Children's Mental Health Awareness. Tips and ideas for preparing for Awareness Day are provided and information is shared about how to host local events. SAMHSA also created a list of community events scheduled the U.S. for Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2013. Click here to view SAMHSA's ideas for raising awareness.

National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health offers tips for families and educators for spreading the word about children's mental health awareness. They compiled a list of how to get involved such as wearing green ribbons during Children’s Mental Health Week to spread awareness about the needs of children and youth with emotional, behavioral, and social disabilities and their families across America! The National Federation of Families developed brief fact sheets and detailed information on Children’s Mental HealthJuvenile Justice, and Recovery & Resiliency. View these helpful documents to learn more about children's mental health.  

National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) is hosting a legislative briefing program along with the National Federation of Families that will emphasize the importance of effective school- and community-based mental health services for children in honor of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. Tip sheets on raising awareness were developed and are available. In addition, NAMI provides facts on pending legislation, which discusses the critical need to protect children from the harmful use of restraints and seclusion in schools.

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is partnered with the Child Mind Institute for Speak Up For Kids 2012. This event was held on National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, May 9, 2012. Both organizations strongly advocate for spreading the word during awareness week and throughout the school year. They encourage school psychologists to speak at their schools or other work locations as part of this national effort to raise awareness about the importance of student mental health!