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NIDA. (2012, April 17). Mental Health and Young People . Retrieved from

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Sara Bellum
April 17 2012
National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day logo

The death of Whitney Houston left America wondering about the emotional well-being of her daughter Bobbi Kristina after such a sudden, serious trauma. Traumatic events can affect your mental health and lead to serious problems later in life. This holds true even if the trauma happens at an early age—as young as 18 months old!

Traumatic experiences can include a number of things, such as the death of a loved one, a car crash, or a natural disaster like a hurricane. Trauma also can result from experiences that take place over a long time, like having a parent with a drug addiction, or experiencing bullying or family violence. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, so it can be hard to know who may need professional help to cope.

The good news is that—with help from families, teachers, counselors, and the community—young people can get well.

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

On National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day—May 9, 2012—communities and organizations across the country will help people understand how important it is to take care of children’s mental health. People will share the message that, with the help of caring adults, young people can recover from traumatic experiences and lead full and productive lives.

How Trauma Affects the Brain

Studies on how young people respond to stress show structural changes in the brain that, for some, can lead to problems like depression, anxiety, aggression, acting out, and drug abuse.

Hear Real Stories On May 9, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. eastern time, you can watch a Webcast at about young people who have successfully recovered from a traumatic event. They will be accompanied by their “Hero of Hope”—the person who has supported them through their challenges.

You can participate by commenting on Facebook and tweeting during the Webcast using the hashtag #HeroesofHope.

Help Raise Awareness

A youth group in North Carolina is planning a “flash mob” for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Last year, we suggested drawing your emotions on paper to increase awareness of your feelings and how they affect your behavior. What are some other ideas to help raise awareness about the importance of your mental health?