Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: Resources for Parents and Practitioners
By Stephanie Yamkovenko
On May 9, AOTA will join other organizations in celebrating Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) designates one day in May for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day with the goal of raising awareness of effective programs, demonstrating how initiatives promote positive youth development, and supporting children at risk to thrive in their communities. The theme of this year’s awareness day is “Heroes of Hope,” and it is honoring individuals who have helped young people demonstrate resilience following traumatic events.
Occupational therapy plays a unique and holistic role in children’s mental health. Practitioners seek to determine what factors affect the child’s ability to meet the demands of his or her occupations and fully participate in them. Participating in meaningful roles and activities—such as hobbies, sports, and school—provides satisfaction and a sense of purpose for children, which helps develop self-control and a positive self-image. Practitioners also have expertise in breaking down tasks to identify the factors in the child’s functional performance that result in poor ability to adapt to changing expectations in the home, school, and community. Poor adaptation can lead to stress, and for children at risk, high stress situations can promote poor or inappropriate behaviors.
AOTA has many resources about children’s mental health for both consumers and occupational therapy practitioners.
If you are a parent, teacher, or an individual interested in learning more about occupational therapy’s role in children’s mental health:
If you are an occupational therapy practitioner or student, interested in resources that will enhance your practice:
Find more resources on children’s mental health here.
Stephanie Yamkovenko is AOTA’s staff writer.