After 17 years, the National Federation of Families is re-defining the CMHA campaign!
Previously, Children's Mental Health Awareness, the "A" now stands for Acceptance.
One positive impact of a pandemic that has challenged everyone's mental health is that, now more than ever, people are talking about it and know it's important. So, it's time to move beyond the term awareness. This significant shift to "acceptance" speaks more directly to our goal for the campaign - to eliminate prejudice and discrimination that individuals with a mental illness diagnosis or symptoms experience.
We believe the term acceptance more directly combats prejudice. Mental health exists on a spectrum and almost everyone experiences challenges at some point in their life. Recognizing that our mental health is just as important as our physical health and accepting individuals who struggle for a period - or for a lifetime - is critical to reducing the fear, worry, blame, and shame that families and their loved ones experience - and increases the likelihood that those who are in need will seek the support and treatment they deserve.
In December of 2021, the Surgeon General issued an advisory highlighting the urgent need to address our nation's youth mental health crisis further exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The advisory stresses the urgency of our new campaign message - that it's time to move beyond awareness and into acceptance - for multiple reasons.
To accept that 1 in 5 youth experiences a mental health challenge
To accept that mental health challenges must be met with understanding and support
To accept that prejudice and discrimination toward individuals who experience mental health challenges creates a barrier to seeking treatment - and it must be eliminated
To accept that our youth are facing serious challenges ahead that need to be addressed
To accept that the future wellbeing of our country depends on how we support and invest in the next generation
Check out the latest infographics to learn more and explore our campaign resources below to find social media tools, educational materials for children and youth, activities for youth and families, green ribbons and other items you can order for your community and much more!