May 9, 2012 Is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 | 10:34am

NASHVILLE – As part of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, Systems of Care across the state will recognize May 9 as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day in order to promote positive youth development, resilience, recovery, and the transformation of mental health services delivery for children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families.

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day was established to increase community awareness about serious emotional disturbances and serious mental illnesses so that the associated stigma with these illnesses can be reduced and better outcomes for these individuals and their families can be achieved.

The theme for Awareness Week 2012 is “Heroes of Hope,” which highlights the importance of a caring adult who provides a child or youth with the kind of positive support and influence that can help the young person develop or enhance resilience.

In a nationally representative survey of 12- to 17-year-old youth and their trauma experiences, 39 percent reported witnessing violence, 17 percent reported physical assault, and 8 percent reported a lifetime prevalence of sexual assault.

Research has shown that caregivers can buffer the impact of trauma and promote better outcomes for children, even under stressful times, when the following Strengthening Families Protective Factors are present:

  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development
  • Concrete support in times of need
  • Social and emotional competence of children

With help from families, friends, providers, and other Heroes of Hope, children and youth can be resilient when dealing with trauma. Visit to learn more.

The focus of a System of Care is to foster collaboration between state and local agencies, schools, and families to provide appropriate mental health services and supports for youth with serious emotional disturbances or serious mental illnesses and their families to help them function more effectively at home, in school, and within their community.  Tennessee currently has Systems of Care in Knox County (K-Town Youth Empowerment Network), Shelby County (JustCare Family Network),  in Cheatham, Dickson, Montgomery, Robertson, and Sumner counties (Early Connections Network), and in 12 counties in South Central Tennessee (South Central System of Care).  Nashville Connection in Davidson County was Tennessee’s first System of Care.

For more information regarding National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day events across the state, please contact the Systems of Care organizations listed below.


Shawn Brooks

Project Director

South Central System of Care

Phone: 931-560-3076



Dr. Altha Stewart

Project Director

JustCare Family Network

Phone: (901) 454-7262



Mark Wolf

Project Director

K-Town Youth Empowerment Network

Phone: (865) 523-0701



Bill Weathers

Project Director

Early Connections Network

Phone: (615) 463-6658



For additional information about Tennessee’s systems of care or other mental health and substance abuse information please contact the Tennessee Department of Mental Health’s Office of Communications at (615) 253-4812 or visit



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