National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day turns five on May 6. To celebrate, SAMHSA and other supporting organizations, including APA, are throwing a party to promote healthy childhood development, resilience and increased access to mental health care for children.

“Children need particular recognition because they have different needs than adults,” says Mary Campbell, APA’s child, youth and families officer. “They are still learning, still growing.”

This year, the day’s organizers are coordinating community-based events to call attention to children’s special needs and discuss how children with mental health needs can thrive in their communities. A national event in Washington, D.C., will feature children painting a mural in the afternoon and a panel discussion with children’s mental health experts and advocates in the evening.

“We’re trying to get the word out to millions of people that positive mental health is essential for a child’s healthy development from birth,” says Gary Blau, PhD, chief of the Child Adolescent and Family Branch of the Center for Mental Health Services at SAMHSA.

Because of their strong community ties, psychologists are essential to getting the word out, he adds. For more information on how you can get involved, go to National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day.

—M. Price