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Flip the Script on Mental Health: Children's Mental Health Awareness Week May 2nd-8th 2021

The last 16 months have been challenging in so many ways, but one unexpected outcome is a growing awareness, discussion and de-stigmatization of mental health. People are aware of and talking about mental health more than ever. Our country is uniquely primed to challenge myths, biases, and discrimination about what mental health is—and what it is not. We see this as an opportunity to change the way we think about our own mental health and that of others. So, with an entire week devoted to the awareness of children’s mental health ahead of us it is a great time to learn more, advocate and show up for our kids and celebrate their strength and resilience. Below are a list of national and local events and ways to participate during National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

Words from National Federation for Families

“As we focus on the emotional wellbeing of children and youth during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (CMHAW), we see this as an opportunity to change hearts, minds, and attitudes regarding mental health. To that end, the 2021 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is “Flip the Script on Mental Health.”

Addressing the mental health needs of children is the responsibility of all community members. Children and youth learn from their parents, caregivers, family members, teachers, doctors – the adults they are taught to respect and rely on. In these roles, we impact how children and youth think about and care for their own mental health and how they treat others who have mental health challenges. We have our work cut out for us. Now is the time to shape a brighter, healthier future for the next generation.

When you ask someone what they think of when we use the term mental health, it is not uncommon for people to say things like, “Depression, anxiety, suicide, therapy or medication.” Alternatively, when you ask what they think of when you say physical health, people answer, “Exercise, good nutrition and getting plenty of rest.” Herein lies the problem. According to, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.” That said, our perception of mental health and learning to care for it–

like we do our physical health – begins in childhood. It's time to flip the script!”

Events and ways to be involved

during this week of Child Mental Health Awareness

Additional events and resources can be found on the OCWC social connection calendar and resource page.

National Conversation about Children's Mental Health

“On May 4th, Tuesday of Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, at 2:00 p.m. ET, the National Federation of Families will host a live “fireside chat” style event during which a small group of leaders from national organizations focused on children’s and youth mental health will share their thoughts on this year’s theme "Flip the Script on Mental Health" and how it applies to their work. ”

Thursday, May 13, 2021 from 1-3 p.m. Online

G.E.A.R. ParentNetwork

Join us for this fun inexpensive family craft activity for any age! We have a simple 4-item activity to create a unique calming bottle for children that sometimes can help to distract them and help them calm down. Let’s have some fun together and help you add another tool from your toolbox to help your child calm down. You will need to have: a clean small plastic bottle (juice or soda) with a cover, Elmer’s glue or any washable clear glue and glitter –1/4 cup or more and warm water.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 from 6-8 p.m

G.E.A.R. ParentNetwork

Presented by: Chris McLaughlin, LCSW, Associate Vice President, Community & Pediatric Services, Northern Light Acadia Hospital

In this interactive webinar, Chris will provide an overview of the concerns many LGBTQ+ youth face and will present on the alarming statistics that impact this group of young people. Chris will review the common terms associated with this population of youth and will discuss how families and providers can work to create an affirming and safe space for these youth. This webinar will also cover other topics such as the importance of pronouns and healthcare disparities. Chris will be answering questions and is eager to provide any support to families who are coping with the coming out process of their children.

Wednesday May 19, 2021 from 9 to 11 a.m.

G.E.A.R. ParentNetwork

Presented by: Greg A Marley, LCSW, Director of Suicide Prevention, NAMI Maine

The US and Maine have experienced an increase in suicide rates across all ages during the past decade. The increase among youth is the largest of any age group. Suicide is a mostly preventable tragedy, and prevention rests on the intervention and support of caring and concerned people armed with information about suicide and with the willingness to intervene. This session is for anyone who wants to prepare themselves as a resource for prevention. It includes basic information about suicide, how to talk about it and some of the key risk factors and warning signs that may indicate heightened risk. Learn how to ask about suicide and the resources to connect someone with the help they need. Because suicide prevention is up to all of us.

Sunday, May 23, 2021 from 11-3 p.m. at Ginny’s Natural Corner, 217 North Ave in Skowhegan

G.E.A.R. ParentNetwork

We have a fun filled time for the whole family! There will be fun activities outside for the whole family so join us in creating your own items to take home: sugar/salt scrubs, essential oil roller balls, activities such as packing peanuts sculptures and ball toss, and more. We will be observing CDC COVID protocols and providing COVID safe snacks. After what we all have been through in the last year your family deserves some relaxing fun and self-care time. The activities outside will be weather permitting. Please bring your own masks to wear and there is plenty of room on our grassed area so feel free to bring lawn chairs or blankets so you can relax and enjoy family time outside while socially distancing. At this location we will be live offering a workshop “Managing Stress” from 12:30-2 p.m. “Managing Stress: Strategies for Recognizing & Reducing Stress” will be presented by Cindy Seekins, CFPS, Director . We all have stress in our lives. The stress is even greater for parents of a child with behavioral health needs. Please join us in the conversation and discovery of what stress is, how stress affects us, how to differentiate between good and bad stress and learn about different stress relief and reduction strategies that can help us to live healthier lives.


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