CHARLESTON, WV – Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week, an annual observance that aims to raise awareness about the importance of mental health for children and promote acceptance and understanding of mental health issues, is being held from May 7-13, according to a news release.
While all of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, this week focuses on the needs of children, the week allows parents, educators, healthcare professionals, and mental health advocates to come together and learn how to support children struggling with mental health challenges.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five children between the ages of 6 and 17 in the United States experience a mental health disorder each year. These disorders can significantly impact a child’s life, including their academic performance, social relationships, and overall well-being. However, many children do not receive the help they need due to stigma and a lack of awareness.
In West Virginia, First Choice Services’ Children’s Crisis and Referral Line offers 24/7 access to trained professionals who can locate resources for those concerned about their child’s mental health, according to the news release, from First Choice Services. They refer to community-based support and treatment. They can arrange an intervention from a Children’s Mobile Crisis Team if a child is in severe distress. Calls to the line have steadily risen, with March showing the highest number of calls, 160.
Ann Hammond, program director for the line, says the program’s goal is to find resources to keep the child in their own home rather than in-patient or residential care. “Many people who call us are surprised at the number of resources they didn’t know about in their community. Some people think the only way to get mental health treatment is in a hospital, but that’s not true.”
If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, call or text 1-844-HELP-4WV or chat online at HELP4WV.com.
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