Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week May 1-7: Finding Help, Finding Hope

Childrens Mental Health Awareness WeekThere’s a lot of activity planned for this year’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week at Swope Health Services, May 1-7.

It’s an opportunity to put a focus on what mental health looks like, said Ashley Daniels, Supervisor, Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center (CPRC) at SHS. The CPRC offers programs for children and young adults, age 5 to 24, who have a mental health diagnosis.

Mark your calendar to join the events, which are free and open to the public:

  • 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday, May 2 — We kick off the week with an information table in the SHS lobby, sharing information, answering questions and selling green stickers for $5, with the funds going to purchase resource materials — books, workbooks, therapeutic games, art supplies — for CPRC. SHS associates who buy stickers get to participate in a “jeans day” at SHS. You may also see SHS associates wearing green, the designated color for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
  • 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 3 — We host an art project in the Activity Room in Building C at SHS Central. Participants will leave handprints with personal messages in a giant mural. Each personalized hand can be decorated with a positive affirmation, words that express the meaning of mental health or how to be the best person you can. We’ll share success stories and conclude the event with a festive bubble release.
  • 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 5 — “Ask the Doctor” — a presentation by Dr. Ulisa Buckingham, Psychiatrist at SHS, followed by an open question-and-answer session. Parents and others who care for children are invited to learn about children’s mental health. This event will be held at the SHS Activity Room in Building C.

“The events are a way to decrease the stigma of mental health while showcasing the talents we see in these kiddos,” Ashley said. “We want to give them a platform to be awesome.”

Ashley Daniels

Ashley Daniels shows some of the materials in the “intervention closet,” a resource for children and young adults in the CPRC programs at SHS.

The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health sponsors the annual week to create a national dialog about the importance of children’s mental health care. One in five children suffer from a mental health challenge, the federation reports, but nationally less than 20 percent of those affected get the support and services they need.

“We want to move away from the stigma,” Ashley explained. “A mental health diagnosis is like any other diagnosis, like asthma — it’s something to be treated, something you learn to cope with.”

The CPRC behavioral health program at SHS offers three lanes of treatment for children and young people with mental health challenges: Case management, outpatient therapy services, and medication therapy:

  • Case management focuses on education in areas like problem solving, coping skills, communications skills, social skills, aggression and anger, suicidal and homicidal thoughts.
  • Outpatient therapy services uncover the feelings or triggers behind the behaviors — for example, uncovering a trauma or other underlying situation.
  • Medication therapy uses prescription medicines to treat depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for example. Medication therapy is usually used along with case management and therapy services.

CPRC’s programs give children new experiences in a new environment, customized by age group and for each individual’s specific needs. “We teach them different, positive ways to express themselves,” Ashley said.


Plan on joining us as we celebrate National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week! Wear green, join our events, leave a comment below or come visit us with your questions! Call (816) 922-1070 to make an appointment.

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