Mental health has been a hot topic the past fews years and rightfully so. As someone who has been through my own battle with anxiety and depression, as an adult, it’s taken me awhile to accept that IT’S OKAY to not be okay and ask for help. And if we struggle as adults, why would we assume our children don’t have the same feelings? Challenges? Mental health battles? And we owe it to them to lead by example, break the stigma and talk with them about the importance of mental health.
Did you know?
- 1 in 5 adults (19.86% of adults and 50 million Americans) suffer from mental illness
- Nearly 5 million children in the U.S. have some type of mental illness
- 20% of American children will be diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetime
- 1 in 5 children has a significantly impairing mental disorder, yet less than half get the treatment they need
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among persons aged 15 to 25
(taken from https://www.onoursleeves.org/)
These facts are sadly not surprising. But thank goodness there are amazing resources out there like the “On Your Sleeves” movement for childrens mental health. Their mission is to “provide free mental health educational resources to every community in America to educate families and empower advocates. We also support access to services by connecting families to trusted local resources.”
If you can imagine, having a child with multiple disabilities and medical complexities led to my own battles with mental health. I am far from perfect but I am thankful for the support system, doctors and other professionals who helped me look beyond my pride and encouraged me to get help. I hate that it took me so long to realize that I wasn’t the only one experiencing what I was feeling and that it wasn’t wrong to feel that way. If we can start the conversation NOW, at an early age, and create a safe environment for our children to communicate how they feel, we can start to break the stigma. We can create change.
I’ve partnered with “On Our Sleeves – The Movement for Children’s Mental Health” in giving away 5 decks of these AMAZING conversation cards. (as of July 2022) What are some things you can do with these decks?
- Have your child(ren) pick a random card for you to read and start a conversation about it
- Have your child(ren) read them to their siblings or friends and start the conversations with each other
- Incorporate the conversation cards into a daily routine (dinner time, bed time, etc)
Operation: Conversation is a “check-in” on children’s mental health. It’s a safe and easy way to ease into sometimes not easy converations. They can help aide us, as parents, to start and continue conversations with our children that they most likely want and NEED to have to ensure they are being heard. The experts involved in this movement help you “start simple habits of conversations with kids, learn about problems they are dealing with, and build their confidence for life’s difficult moments.”
You can enter my GIVEAWAY to possibly win one of these conversation decks on Instagram @embracingsmallstep. But if you’re reading this article after the fact, you can always access these FREE resources and downloads at the link below:
**affiliate links included in this blog post**
Help me and the On Our Sleeves movement take action to support childrens mental health! Our childrens futures depend on it!