The Calvert County Department of Community Resources, in partnership with the Calvert County Family Network, asks that citizens take pause to recognize May as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month and the week of May 2-8 as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. The goal of this campaign is to raise public awareness of the importance of children’s mental health and connect families, educators and providers with resources to help children.
During the month of May, citizens are encouraged to learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how they impact local youth and the community. ACEs are potentially traumatic events that occur in children 17 years and younger that could include the following:
- Substance misuse
- Mental health problems and instability due to parental separation
- Household members being in jail or prison
ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness and substance misuse in adulthood, and can negatively impact education and job opportunities.
“Education is the first step to helping our community fight the stigma of mental illness and help our most vulnerable population stay safe and protected against ACEs,” said Community Resources Director Jennifer Moreland. “Many children’s social, emotional and mental well-being has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. It is critical now, more than ever, for us to start a dialogue with our children, and to help families find resources and assistance to ensure local youth become strong, stable and productive citizens.”
- Experiencing violence, abuse or neglect
- Witnessing violence
- Having a family member die suddenly and unexpectedly
ACEs also include aspects of a child’s environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability and bonding such as growing up in a household with: