UTHSC Recognizes Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week Through May 7, Hosts Events Throughout May

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The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is recognizing Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week beginning today through May 7, and is hosting events throughout the month of May to draw attention to the importance of the mental health needs of youth.

Formerly Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the name change reflects the desire to prevent prejudices and discrimination experienced by young people with mental illnesses and to eliminate barriers to seeking treatment. This year’s focus will be on the importance of shifting from awareness to acceptance.

Individuals are encouraged to wear green May 6 in support of Children's Mental Health Acceptance Week.
Individuals are encouraged to wear green May 6 in support of Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week.

As in past years, Altha Stewart, MD, senior associate dean for Community Health Engagement, associate professor of psychiatry, and the director of the Center for Youth Advocacy and Well-Being, will lead the observance at UTHSC.

Studies show that one in five youth experience a mental health challenge, and 30% of all children have had at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). These challenges and experiences are shown to contribute to high-risk behaviors and negative outcomes.

By observing Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week and working with the UTHSC Center for Youth Advocacy and Well-Being (formerly the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth), supporters like Dr. Stewart are continuously working to improve those outcomes in Shelby County.

Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week was created 17 years ago by the National Federation of Families. This year’s local activities include:

May 5, 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., Geeter K-8 School – Children’s Wellness Fair, Career Day, and Petting Zoo

May 5, 4 p.m. until 6 p.m., Knowledge Quest – Wellness Fair

May 6 – Wear Green in support of Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week

May 6, 4 p.m. – First of four-part Facebook Live Series: “The Benefits of Family Support Specialists,” hosted by the UTHSC Center for Youth Advocacy and Well-Being

May 13, 4 p.m. – 2nd of four-part Facebook Live Series: “The Benefits of Family Support Specialists,” hosted by the UTHSC Center for Youth Advocacy and Well-Being

May 14, 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., Optimum Studios – “Inside Out” movie screening. Email bdavi142@uthsc.edu to reserve seats

May 20, 4 p.m. – 3rd of four-part Facebook Live Series: “The Benefits of Family Support Specialists,” hosted by the UTHSC Center for Youth Advocacy and Well-Being

May 26, 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. – Virtual Lunch and Learn at Family Advocate Center & Empowerment Services of Memphis

May 27, 4 p.m. – 4th of four-part Facebook Live Series: “The Benefits of Family Support Specialists,” hosted by the UTHSC Center for Youth Advocacy and Well-Being

A full list of activities and more information is available at the Center for Youth Advocacy and Well-Being’s website.