May is Mental Health Awareness Month and One in Five Minds is raising awareness of the important role mental health plays in our lives, especially in the lives of our children.Children’s mental illness is a major concern in our community. A community in which 14 percent of Hispanic high school students report having made a suicide plan. One in five children suffer from mental illness—that’s 80,000 children in Bexar County alone. And half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. If even only one person in a household struggles with mental illness, it affects the whole family. Yet unlike a broken arm, only 20 percent of children receive treatment. Stigma, among other reasons, prevents many from seeking help.
A couple of weeks ago a woman I have not spoken to in thirty years contacted me to ask for my advice regarding her college-age son. She was having some serious worries about his depression and general mental health. I was more than willing and happy to offer any advice I could, but it made me wonder; why wasn’t she asking a medical professional or a close friend? Why was she reaching out to someone she knew thirty-years ago?
“As a community, we would never allow a child with a broken arm to go untreated, or wait three months for care.”
On Sunday, November 30, the San Antonio Express-News printed an Op-Ed article from Clarity Child Guidance Center (CGC) President & CEO Fred Hines. The piece, sub-titled: One in Five Minds campaign starts the conversation to address issues, discusses the mental health needs in our community and encourages people to take action. Clarity CGC is the sponsor of the One in Five Minds campaign.
To read the Express-News Op-Ed article, click here.
Kathy Cunningham passed away in November 2013. She was a registered nurse, certified addictions registered nurse and administrator of managed care for Clarity Child Guidance Center. She was also a tireless and devoted advocate who gave over 30 years of her life to the cause of mental health, as a parent, a community member and a health care professional. Kathy left behind a loving family, many friends, and a legacy of service, especially as an advocate for children's mental health.
At claritycon2014, we announced an award Clarity Child Guidance Center created in her memory to recognize her years of service to the kids of our community. It is intended for unsung heroes, advocating for children's mental health. Please click to download the flyer below to see the qualifications and submit your nominations. All nominations must be received by midnight, December 31, 2014.
We will announce the recipient of the Kathy Cunningham Mental Health Advocacy Award at claritycon2015.
Click here to download the flyer, or contact Ruby Bryan 210.593.2148 for more information.
The cost of the shirt is $25, plus shipping and handling, and 100% of the proceeds will be used to increase awareness of children's mental health.
It's easy to order, simply click here.
After you receive you shirt, show it off in 3 easy steps by:
1. Logging in to Facebook
2. Looking up and Liking the One in Five Minds Facebook page
3. Posting your photo with your new One in Five Minds t-shirt!
Thank you for your support of children and adolescents' mental health!
What’s the scariest part about Halloween? It continues to stigmatize people struggling with mental illness. Yes, there will always be the person with a questionable costume choice, but too often, people use mental illness as their costume "theme". Or worse, the local haunted house uses “mentally ill” characters to scare its guests.
Unfortunately, the scary truth is that after the fear fades away, the stigma remains. A “mentally ill” character chasing visitors through the halls of a haunted house does not reflect the reality. People suffering with mental illness are not scary - they’re struggling with an illness. How would we react if someone dressed up like a cancer patient? To many people, this may be viewed as a “So what?” moment. It’s done in fun, and only once a year. What’s the harm in that?
It’s possible that even to a person struggling with a mental illness it may not be a big deal, but what about the others who don’t come forward for care because of the fear they’ll be labeled as someone scary? The “So what” is that kids and families may not seek treatment because of what others will think about them.
Isn't it time to respect the reality of mental illness? When do we start to see mental illness for what it is? An illness that strikes one in four adults and one in five children. It's an illness that is often treatable, if individuals and families can overcome the stigma and seek help.
What will you do this Halloween? Will you have a conversation with the friend thinking about this costume choice? Or make a call to the haunted house using these characters? If it’s done in an open informative manner, they may choose to change to something less stigmatizing and a little more "Up-lifting."
We would like to hear your thoughts. Comment on the One in Five Minds Facebook page here.
There have been some excellent posts written in the past year about mental illness and Halloween. We’ve included links below.