Children’s Mental Health Week: Fight the Stigma!
May 3-9 is National Children’s Mental Health Week, as celebrated by the National Federation of Families.
79% of children aged 6 to 17 with mental disorders do not receive appropriate care.
This year’s theme is, “Mental Health Is Fundamental.” Mental health is fundamental to our ability to think, feel, and interact with each other and enjoy life.
The following is a tool offered by the Parent Professional Advocacy League — Massachusett’s Family Voice for Children’s Mental Health.
Simple Ways You Can Fight Stigma:
- Get treatment if someone in your family needs it. Don’t let the fear of being “labeled” prevent you from seeking help.
- Don’t let stigma create self-doubt and shame. Stigma doesn’t just come from others. You may have the mistaken belief that mental health conditions are a sign of personal weakness or can be controlled without help.
- Don’t isolate yourself. If someone in your family faces mental health challenges, you may be reluctant to tell anyone about it. Have the courage to confide in others (family members, friends, clergy) and reach out to people you trust for the compassion, support and understanding you need.
- Don’t equate the person with the illness. No one is an “illness.” So instead of saying, “He’s bipolar” or “She’s ADHD” say, “He has bipolar disorder” or “She’s been diagnosed with ADHD.”
- Join a support group. PPAL and other family organizations offer support groups and resources that help reduce stigma by educating parents and the general public.
- Get help at school. If your child has mental health needs that affect learning, find out what plans and programs might help. Discrimination against students because of mental health conditions is against the law and schools are required to accommodate them. Ask for the best approach and available resources.
For more information, visit: http://www.ffcmh.org/awarenessweek or http://ppal.net/childrens-mental-health-week/about