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A Pediatric Perspective

Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

Published May 7, 2013 1:30 PM by Cecilia Cruse

I was glad to see this pop up on my radar.  This Thursday May 9th is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.  With our 24/7 news   and social media feed these days it just seems as if there is a barrage of attention lately focused on escalating violence affecting children.  Traumatic events such as the Sandy Hook school shooting or the Boston Marathon tragedy are still thankfully the exception in  the U.S. but these events should and do make us pause and consider the long term effects on all children, even those that weren’t directly involved.  There are some sobering statistics emerging about mental health in children and adolescents.   In his blog entitled 10 Things You Should Know About Stress, Eric Jensen indicates that over 20% of adolescents have some form of stress disorder (depression, reactive attachment disorder, bipolar disorder and other issues).   He lists the top 3 stressors for kids at school as academic pressures, family pressure and bullying.  Finally he notes that among children from low socioeconomic levels, 60 to 95% have chronic stress.   With our background in child development, and psychology/mental health,   I so agree with AOTA’s statement that Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and OT are a good fit!  You can more information and resources at AOTA.org.   I have blogged in the past about incorporating the use of affirmations for children but there are countless other ways to support our kids as well.  Please share your strategy with us.  

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