Make a difference on mental health
For anyone who loves children, the numbers are terrifying: 17 out of every 100 of high school student seriously considers suicide; 13 percent of children ages 8 to 15 experience a mental health condition in a year – but only half will receive treatment; half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14.
May 6-12 is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. In a first-time joint effort, schools in the Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro systems will participate in activities to raise awareness about children’s mental health. Schools will provide information to parents, students, and staff on the importance of self-care to manage stress and anxiety.
On Sunday, May 6, a Youth Choir Benefit Concert at Binkley Baptist featured a speaker from Josh’s Hope Foundation, which received the proceeds. Choral selections and anthems were performed by youth choirs from Binkley Baptist, University Presbyterian, University United Methodist, and United Church of Chapel Hill.
Multiple organizations are working to make a difference. Mental Health Community Connections: Children and Youth (MHCC) is a committee formed to promote mental wellness practices and support students and their families. Sophie Jin, a rising senior at East Chapel Hill High School, appreciates this initiative. “As someone who has had personal experience with mental health, I now advocate for stigma awareness at the high school level as a student, a friend, and a peer. I participate in children's mental health month because I've seen firsthand how mental illness can affect young people."
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers free programs and support groups. On May 22 at 6:30 pm, NAMI Orange County will present a program at the Chapel Hill Public Library called “Talking With Your Child About School Violence.” A panel will include Dr. Robin Gurwitch and Nancy Berson, LCSW, who treat children who have experienced trauma, and Tora Taylor-Glover, LCSW, crisis counselor with the Chapel Hill Police Department.
Faith Connections on Mental Illness and Stand by Me NC are hosting “#TeenAnxiety: A Youth Mental Health Summit” on Oct. 6 in Chapel Hill. The event will feature the IndieFlix documentary, “Angst: Raising Awareness About Anxiety,” and breakout sessions about anxiety and coping skills. Registration will open in August at standbymenc.org and is limited to 100 youth and 40 adults.
You can make a difference. Learn to recognize warning signs, how to talk with your child about mental illness, and how to work with school staff. Keep up with news and opportunities through websites such as standbymenc.org, faithconnectionsonmentalillness.org, or your local NAMI affiliate.
Faith Connections on Mental Illness
Tax cuts and cuts for education are responsible for North Carolina teacher salaries being among the lowest in the nation and inadequate resources for teachers and students.
I applaud the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education’s action in support of our teachers and students and hope not only teachers but parents and community members will be in Raleigh on May 16 to make our voices heard by the legislature.
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