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Mayor Fenty Proclaims May 6 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mayor Fenty Proclaims May 6 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

District Department of Mental Health serves more than 3,500 children and youth.

District Department of Mental Health serves more than 3,500 children and youth.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has proclaimed May 6, 2010 as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day in the District of Columbia to raise awareness about available programs that promote positive youth development, recovery and resilience.

The proclamation reads in part, “addressing the complex mental health needs of children, youth, and families today is fundamental to the future well being of the District of Columbia and positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development.

The District’s Department of Mental Health (DMH) offers comprehensive prevention, early intervention and clinical services to youth and their families.   The Department supports a 24/7 emergency crisis service for children experiencing a psychiatric or emotional crisis.  Teams of mental health clinicians will respond to emergency calls whether in school, the home or community.   On going services also are offered in 58 public schools.  Services can be accessed by calling the DMH Helpline (1-888-793-4357).

It is estimated that 14 to 20 percent of all children have some type of emotional or behavioral disorders and more than 3,500 receive services through the District’s public mental health system. 

 “National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day provides an important opportunity to show how children and youth with mental health needs—as well as their families—thrive when they have the right supports and services available,” said Stephen T. Baron, Director of the Department of Mental Health.

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day was started in 2006 by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and other national organizations to raise awareness of effective programs for children’s mental health needs.