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Children's Mental Health Awareness Week

"Finding Help, Finding Hope"

As national events continue to illuminate the critical need for mental health care reform in this country, we must increase our efforts to educate the nation about the importance of prevention and early identification of mental health challenges. We must also highlight the fact that children are an integral part of a family unit and create an understanding amongst policy leaders and practitioners that healthy families are better equipped to support resilient children. Legislation, policies, and practices must fully endorse the undisputed importance of full family engagement and participation in the care and treatment of their children. Further, we must advocate for a holistic approach to children's mental health that includes the provision of supports that strengthen the family as they nurture resiliency.

Please join us as we create a national dialogue about the importance of finding help, finding hope.

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Creating awareness can come in a variety of ways. Every year, we help our membership by providing numerous awareness week supplies including ribbons, balloons, and more. Check out our online store to get all the items you need any time of the year. All proceeds go directly to the National Federation.
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Why We Must Continue to Talk About Stigma

Representative Paul Shepherd introduced a bill to create the "Friends of the Orofino Maniacs" license plate in the House Transportation Committee. The proposed legislation received a print hearing and is now HB413.  Advocates are asked to consider expressing opposition to the passage of House Bill 413 which seeks to amend Idaho Code Section 49-402 by adding a new section authorizing special vehicle license plates for the Idaho Friends of the Orofino Maniacs. That’s right, it will put the word MANIAC into Idaho Code and on a license plate depicting the Orofino maniac mascot, officially sanctioned and issued by the State of Idaho.  Orofino is home to State Hospital North, a state-sponsored and supported institution for the care and treatment of individuals who have a serious mental illness, and a high school using the name ‘Maniacs’ and image of a wild-haired, shouting, out-of-control cartoon character as its mascot. Proceeds from the sale of these special license plates would be applied to furthering academic enrichment in this school district.  Learn more...

The Bright Light of Advocacy

Six years ago the Federal Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated Georgia's state psychiatric hospitals and declared them to be unsafe.  After long and difficult negotiations DOJ and the State of Georgia signed a Settlement Agreement which is now improving crisis services in the community for adults with mental illnesses. A recent article in The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that "hundreds of millions of dollars" have been pumped into upgrading these services.

This is something to rejoice about, but during the same six years children's services have languished.  It is now time to focus the bright light of advocacy on young people.  There are some hopeful signs.  Three pilot programs are in place to identify and provide early treatment and supports for youth, when symptoms of psychosis first appear.  There are some collaborative programs leveraging behavioral health services into school settings.  A legislative study committee is holding hearings to consider how to improve services for "our" children and youth and their families.  The Department of Justice has issued a letter of findings declaring that GNETS  (Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support) is not in compliance with Federal law. All of this is creating opportunities for service improvements.  Learn more...