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2011 National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day – May 3

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day (Awareness Day) encourages everyone to support children and youth, especially those with serious mental health needs, as they grow up. Awareness Day re-enforces the idea that a youth and his or her family have a right to take an active role in deciding how to live with a mental illness. Awareness Day also focuses on giving youth with mental health concerns the tools they need to withstand the challenges they face both personally and in the community. Additionally, Awareness Day brings the community together to discuss better ways to make mental health services available to youth and their families.

pdf.gif Proclamation of May 3, 2011 as Children's Mental Health Awareness Day in Pennsylvania, issued by Governor Tom Corbett.

Children's Mental Health Awareness Day aims to raise awareness and understanding of the idea that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development from birth.

In Allegheny County, Awareness Day is recognized by the continued distribution of the Explore Your Emotions coloring and activity book.

The coloring book encourages young children and their parents or another trusted adult to talk with each other about their feelings. To help children talk about their feelings, the coloring book emphasizes “feeling words” such as “excited,” “happy,” “worried” and “sad.”

During the initial distribution in 2010, approximately 40,000 copies of the coloring book were distributed through corporate, non-profit and governmental partners across Allegheny County. The list of interested partners keeps growing.

The Explore Your Emotions coloring and activity book continues to be well-received by organizations, the community and families as a method of encouraging open dialogue with children about feelings.

pdf.gif Explore Your Emotions coloring and activity book

pdf.gif Explore Your Emotions tip sheet

Awareness Day efforts will encourage the following actions:

1. Integrate mental health into every environment that impacts child development from birth
2. Nurture the social and emotional well-being of children from birth
3. Look for and discuss milestones of a child's social and emotional development from birth

"Hear Me NOW: A Celebration of Resiliency through the Performing Arts" Video
This video clip highlights the 2009 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day “Hear Me NOW: A Celebration of Resiliency through the Performing Arts” youth performance. The DVD features Marquee James and Mya Meriweather, two Allegheny County youth performers, who participated in the event by doing poetry and prose. The youths performed at The Harman Center for the Arts, Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, DC on Thursday, May 7, 2009.

Learn more about the National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day campaign by visiting the SAMHSA website.