As most of you know May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As we press on with May this health awareness month keeps finding ways to help spread mental health awareness. For instance, The Child Mind Institute has done just that.
The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. A team of medical professionals work every day to provide the best and the highest care to those children and their families who are struggling with a mental condition.
Of the 74.5 million children in the United States, an estimated 17.1 million have or have had a mental health disorder — more than the number of children with cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. Half of all mental illness occurs before the age of 14, and 75 percent by the age of 24 (The Child Mind Institute).
The Child Mind Institute is driven to create brighter futures for children who suffer from a mental or learning disability. The three commitments are as followed:
1. Give these children access to the best, most effective treatments when and where they need it most
2. Advance the science of the developing brain to improve diagnosis and treatment
3. Provide useful, accurate information that empowers families and communities to get help
Each year the institute creates a theme for mental health month. This year it is “Speak Up for the Kids.” This campaign has several celebrities speaking about their own mental conditions and what they have done to overcome it and what they would tell their younger self. Over the course of 31 days’ individuals have or will video tapped themselves and give advice and what has actually gotten them through some hard times.
Fun fact: I have a learning disability. Not many know this, but I thought I should share it. So many who suffer from a learning disability live normal and productive lives. They can do anything that someone who doesn’t have a disability can do.
Growing up I knew I wanted to go to college and work in a children’s hospital. I have known this since I was eight years old. Most recently be a Child Life Specialist in a children’s mental health hospital/unit. Having this goal in mind, I barreled though my studies as a student. My learning disability has really gotten me to where I am today. I have never given up on the dream that I set for myself all those years ago…and do not intend to.
During my college years, I met many who had a mental condition. Some were like mine a learning disability and some were more server, but we were all at college for one sole purpose. TO GET A GOOD EDUCATION and to graduate with the degree at which we all sought. I have successfully earned my Associate’s in Child Development and I work vigorously to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with concentrations in: Child Development, Child Life, Family Studies and a minor in Psychology. All I have left to complete my studies is a child life internship. I also have written two book series and have been published.
I tell people that my disability doesn’t define me, but I define my disability. No matter what type of illness someone may have, whether it be a physical or a mental illness know that you can live a productive life. Just because you have some kind of condition does not mean you have to let it take over. Also, remember that you are not alone. There are other’s out there—celebrities that have mental conditions like you and that they are not ashamed of who they are:
- Emma Stone
- Michael Phelps
- Carrie Fisher
- Vivien Leigh
- Howie Mandell
- Jay Leno
- Patty Duke
Just to name a few. Know that you are not alone. You are an overcomer and you can face anything that life throws at you.
Below you will find a link to the child mind institute:
Until next time!