National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week: An Overview

According to data cited by the National Institute of Mental Health, “just over 20 percent (or 1 in 5) children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder.”[1] Similarly, the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Study found that “approximately 13 percent of children ages 8 to 15 had a diagnosable mental disorder within the previous year.”[2]

Clearly, as the data indicates, the mental health of children and adolescents is a significant issue in the country today that needs to be addressed. National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is a national awareness and education effort that has grown out of this need.

Background of NCMHA Week

Established in 2005 as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, NCMHA Week was designed to fall within the previously established National Mental Health Month of May. NCMHA Week “seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and to show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth.”[3]

Typically held in the first full week of May, the initiative encourages schools, nonprofits, and other community organizations to participate in programs and hold events that raise awareness about the mental health needs of America’s youngest citizens. “It is a week to focus on children and youth living with mental illness and to come together to advocate or a full array of effective services and supports for children affected by mental illness.”[4]

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

This year, the 12th annual National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week will be held May 1-7. While events will be happening across the country all week long, Thursday, May 4th has been dedicated as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.

“Awareness Day 2017’s national focus is on the importance of integrating behavioral health and primary care for children, youth, and young adults with mental and/or substance use disorders. The 2017 national theme is “Partnering for Help and Hope.” Communities, national collaborating organizations, and federal programs across the country are busy planning local Awareness Day 2017 activities and events.”[5]

Olympians Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt will serve as Honorary Chairpersons of the Washington, D.C. event, which will also be webcast by SAMHSA. For more information about the day, visit the main site here. Additional resources – including media outreach tools, event planning checklists, and event partners – can be found here.

Wondering what’s happening near you? Every year more than 1,100 events are held in honor of this awareness day. Check out this sample list to find events in your state.

Understanding the Mental Health Needs of Children in Your Community

While knowing national statistics about children’s mental health is certainly helpful, having accurate, actionable data from within your own community can be even more impactful.

At Pride, we have been helping schools and coalitions collect meaningful data about youth in their communities for over thirty years. We offer a range of different survey products covering mental health as well as substance abuse, school climate, bullying, and more.

Find more information about the surveys we offer and why you should partner with Pride for your student surveying needs. Questions? Ready to get started? Call us at    or contact us online.

[1]“Health Statistics & Prevalence: Any Disorder Among Children” Health & Education. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-disorder-among-children.shtml on April 14, 2017.

[2]Ibid.

[3]“National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: Awareness Day 2017.” Programs & Campaigns: Children. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/children/national-events on April 14, 2017.

[4]“Awareness Events: May.” National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events on April 17, 2017.

[5]“Awareness Day 2017.” Programs & Campaigns: Children: Awareness Days. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/children/national-childrens-awareness-day-events/awareness-day-2017 on April 17, 2017.



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