Today is Child Mental Health Awareness Day, and all week long Children’s Rights is lifting up messages and statistics about the child mental health crisis our nation is facing – and what we need to do about it.
Rates of mental health disorders are soaring. Emergency room visits by children suffering from anxiety, mood disorders, and self-harm have jumped sharply. And teen and young adult suicide has risen almost 60% in the last ten years. In December, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory to highlight the urgent need to address the mental health care needs of the nation’s youth.
This crisis calls for a community-based response rooted in equity, compassion, and a recognition that children always do better and get better at home in the care of loving adults. Instead, today the reality is that police routinely intervene when children experience a mental health crisis, often fining and arresting or even harming them for normal adolescent behavior and unmet mental health needs.
People with mental health conditions are 16 times more likely to be killed during encounters with police. Imagine if mental health professionals and communities were the first lines of defense for children and families experiencing a mental health crisis instead of law enforcement.
Sample Messaging to share:
The child mental health crisis calls for a community-based response rooted in equity & compassion to strengthen children’s mental health with their families & in their communities. I’m joining @ChildrensRights to raise awareness this #ChildMentalHealthWeek childrensrights.org/childrens-mental-health-week
Youth with mental health conditions are overpoliced and criminalized. I demand policymakers invest in community mental health services and reduce youth interactions with law enforcement. Sign the @ChildrensRights petition this #ChildMentalHealthWeek: https://bit.ly/3vcVJxA #CommunityNotPolice
Children flourish when provided with services they need in their communities, with their families, from mental health professionals—without the presence of police. We must divert youth away from interactions with law enforcement that put them at greater risk for arrest, institutionalization, and separation from their families and communities.
Mental health is essential to every child’s healthy development, which is why we need you to help push the #CommunityNotPolice message today.
Let’s imagine a crisis response model free from law enforcement. By building strong communities where children and families thrive together we can make it real.
Youth with mental health conditions are overpoliced and criminalized. Demand policymakers invest in community mental health services and reduce youth interactions with law enforcement.