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Mayor Fenty Proclaims May 7 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Department of Mental Health Director Steve Baron presents proclamation at national event.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has proclaimed May 7, 2009 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day in the District of Columbia to raise awareness and calls upon District residents of this great City to advocate for the health and well being of children.

Steve Baron, Director of the Department of Mental Health, will present the resolution during a national event at the Harman Hall that features performances by youth from across the country living with mental health challenges. Actress Goldie Hawn will receive a special recognition award for her work with the Hawn Foundation. 

In recognition of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, the Department of Mental Health is supporting an all day conference on Friday, May 8, 2009 entitled “Towards a True System of Care” that will showcase effective mental and behavioral health practices, programs and services for young people and their families in the District.

It is estimated that 14 to 20 percent of all children have some type of emotional or behavioral disorders and more than 3,000 receive services through the District’s public mental health system.  The Department of Mental Health offers mobile crisis intervention services as well as prevention, early intervention and clinical services to youth and their families.  Services also are offered in 58 public schools.

 “Mental health issues affect people of all background and ages, and at all stages of life. National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day provides an important opportunity for the community to show how children and youth with mental health needs—as well as their families—thrive when they have the right supports and services available,” said Baron.

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day was started in 2006 by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and other national organizations to raise awareness of effective programs for children’s mental health needs and to demonstrate how children’s mental health initiatives promote positive youth development, recovery, and resilience.