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NIDA. (2012, May 9). Today Is National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. Retrieved from

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Sara Bellum
May 9 2012
National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day banner

Today, communities and organizations across the country will help people understand how important it is to take care of children’s mental health. This year’s focus is on helping children recover from traumatic experiences. Learn more about the observance and the effects of trauma on the brain by reading our previous post, Mental Health and Young People.

Attend an Awareness Day Event

More than 1,000 communities in the United States are celebrating National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day by hosting interactive events for children and adults. Here is just a sampling of the activities planned:

Delaware. Delaware’s B.E.S.T. for Young Children and Their Families will host its 8th annual “Get the Scoop on Mental Health.” Participants will learn about children’s mental health and get a free scoop of Italian ice at participating Rita’s Water Ice locations.

Michigan. American Indian Health and Family Services of Southeastern Michigan has planned several activities that include poetry and storytelling “open mic,” healthy cooking demonstrations, green smoothies, face painting, an art table with beading, bouncy house, Native musical chairs, and a play area for younger kids.

Texas. Hand in Hand is partnering with a Fort Worth high school program in which at-risk high school art students and local college graduates develop murals for walls that have been targets for graffiti. The mural theme is “Play Matters 4 Children’s Mental Health.”

Virginia. The Virginia Art Therapy Association is hosting "Heroes of Hope" at the Children's Museum of Richmond. The event will include a Q&A panel discussion for parents and caregivers, art making, and the “Heroes of Hope” exhibit of art by children and teens ages 4–18.

Find a National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day event near you!

Watch Heroes of Hope

If you are unable to attend an event in person, you can participate by watching a tribute program about children and teens who have recovered from traumatic experiences, as well as the parents and caregivers—their Heroes of Hope—who helped them get well. Live performances by youth from around the country will also honor these Heroes of Hope.

Watch the live webcast from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. eastern time. You can participate by commenting on Facebook and tweeting during the webcast using the hashtag #HeroesofHope.