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The Illinois Department of Human Services Commemorates Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is raising awareness for children’s mental health and partnering with providers across the state for awareness day events.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, Governor Bruce Rauner proclaimed May 10, 2018 to be Children’s Mental Health Day in Illinois.

“Children in Illinois continue to be severely impacted by trauma. Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day allows us to highlight the services that are available to them through the Department of Human Services and our community providers,” Governor Rauner said. “We encourage families to reach out to the department and become more familiar with the programs that are available to them.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have, or will have a serious mental illness. Each year Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development. Early studies produced by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Child Mental Health Initiative (CMHI) show that children who received CMHI services have reduced behavioral problems, substance use issues, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and are also showing improvements in the classroom.

“It is very important to address the complex mental health needs of children, youth and families today,” IDHS Secretary James Dimas said. “Our team is working hard to get children access to mental health services earlier on in life so that they can succeed in school and have a promising future.”

This year’s national theme is “Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma” and will be the focus of awareness events happening today and throughout the month of May. Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma focuses on the importance of an integrated approach to caring for the mental health needs of children, youth, and young adults who have experienced trauma, as well as their families. The state of Illinois, along with more than 1,100 communities, 160 national collaborating organizations and federal programs have organized local awareness day activities and events around the country.

Events across the state include a Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry and employee presentation at Lurie Children’s Hospital, a Walk the Block event with parents at the Egyptian Health Department and Lake County Health Department is providing a public presentation for youth, caregivers and adults working with youth. The Prudential Plaza and the Blue Cross Blue Shield buildings in downtown Chicago are illuminated green for awareness day along with the Tate & Lyle landmark in Decatur. For a full list of events and activities please visit IDHS’ Division of Mental Health’s events page.