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Safe Kids Carroll County: Children’s Mental Health Matters! campaign runs May 2-8

Mark your calendars for May 2-8 for the Children’s Mental Health Matters! campaign. It’s easy to know when your child needs help dealing with a fever or a broken bone, but mental health concerns can be harder to identify. You may be surprised to learn that 1 in 5 children experience a diagnoseable mental health condition each year, yet only 20% are identified and receive treatment. One in nine youth aged 13-18 experience a substance use disorder, yet only 7% receive services.

The challenging part is knowing the kinds of behaviors and moods that are usual for the stage of development your child is in – and when your child needs help. Conversations about mental health should be as routine as conversations of overall health and wellness. Afterall, mental health is something that everyone has, regardless of age, gender, race, culture, income, or education.

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The Annual Children’s Mental Health Matters! Campaign goal is through school and community champions across the state to raise awareness of the importance of children’s mental health. The campaign also helps reduce the stigma of mental health concerns, lets parents know that they are not alone in caring for children with mental health needs, and connects families throughout the State of Maryland with information and services to help their child. This statewide campaign is coordinated by the Mental Health Association of Maryland and the Maryland Coalition of Families.

Are you wondering how you can get involved and support the cause?

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Join the campaign as a school champion or a community champion! By signing up as a champion, your agency is agreeing to participate in raising awareness during the week. Activities can include:

1. Register to be a champion at https://www.childrensmentalhealthmatters.org/

2. Plan an awareness week event for your school or agency which can include morning school announcements about mental health, sharing campaign materials, making a bulletin board addressing stigma, or wearing green on Thursday, May 6, to celebrate children’s mental health.

3. Hold your awareness week event anytime from May 2 to May 8

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4. View the Carroll County Commissioners’ Proclaim Children’s Mental Health Matters! Week on Thursday, May 6, at approximately 9 a.m. at https://www.carrollcountymd.gov/government/commissioners/commissioners-calendar/

5. Stay tuned to the E-SMART Facebook page, @CarrollESMART for story times, which will be posted throughout the month of May. More information on E-SMART can be found at www.esmartcarroll.net

6. Sign up for a future Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) or Youth MFHA course at Carroll Community College, www.carrollcc.edu

Together we can create a community of awareness during this year’s Children’s Mental Health Matters! campaign and each and every day of the year.

Doug Lent, E-SMART social marketing lead, Maryland Family Network, and Katie Mack, E-SMART project director, Carroll County Health Department, contributed to this column.

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