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May 6-12: Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

April 29, 2012
By CATHY BROWNFIELD - Staff Writer , Salem News

It wasn't easy for Vic and Tess to sit and listen to the things the case worker reported about them as the parents of "M." The girl had accused them of beating her, starving her, and otherwise neglecting her.

In fact, she accused everyone in the house except the 4-year-old, all her siblings. M's mental state had been diagnosed "schizo-affective disorder."

Schizo-affective disorder is a mental condition that causes both a loss of contact with reality (psychosis) and mood problems. It is rare in children. It is unlikely that "M" will go home again. And life at the group home is not going so well, either. The caseworker cited "problems" with another child there.

Debra spent too much time alone. A victim of bullying at school, she kept to herself a lot of the time. When she was at home, she spent most of her time hiding alone in her room.

Her mother noticed and set to work to find the problem (depression) and resolution of the issues.

Ian was diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. Any time something bad happened at school, the ADHD kid was blamed. He was labeled "unteachable," even though his family knew he was very bright. But there were also all the other kids at school who had "problems."

The most common mental health issues for children are depression, anxiety, behavior disorders and ADHD. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides the following information about children's mental health:

Mental illness and disorders affect one in five children.

Severe mental illness causing functional impairment affects one in five children.

Approximately 79 percent of affected children and teens do not receive treatment.

One in eight youth diagnosed with a mental illness has a co-occurring substance abuse problem.

About 80 percent of people with multiple mental health and substance abuse disorders report onset before age 20.

2003: 15,000 children with psychiatric disorders were improperly jailed because there were no mental health services available to them.

children as young as 7 are locked in detention centers because no mental health services are available.

Fathers/father figures make a difference in children's lives by promoting well-being, security, appropriate behaviors and responses. Dad is important.

Children's Mental Health Awareness Week is May 6-12.

This year's theme is Caring for Every Child's Mental Health. On May 10 the "Resiliency Ring Event" will be held at the State House in Columbus and the public is welcome to participate in those activities celebrating youth in the state.

Kay Rietz, assistant deputy director, Ohio Department of Mental Health, advises that the goal of the awareness week is to provide "valuable information and resources about Children's Mental Health, promotes awareness, and encourages community activities to help recognize the strong foundation that families, schools and communities provide in Caring for Every Child's Mental Health in Ohio."

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs.

For more information about Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, FRC is funded, in part, by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.



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