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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
May/June 2010, Volume 18, Number 3 

Celebrating Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day 2010

Promoting the Importance of Mental Health Starting at Birth

Sherri Shepherd of ABC’s “The View,” child-development pioneer T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and an expert panel joined SAMHSA to celebrate the fifth anniversary of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on May 6 in Washington, DC. SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., presented Dr. Brazelton with a special recognition award. (See Dr. T. Berry Brazelton Shares His Vision.)

My feelings are a work of art

Visit an extensive gallery of photos from Awareness Day events, including the evening’s Early Childhood Forum.

“Awareness Day spotlights the importance of promoting positive social and emotional development in children and the need for early identification of mental health challenges,” said Lisa Rubenstein, Project Officer for Awareness Day and a public health advisor at SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS).

This year’s celebration focused on the importance of promoting children’s mental health from birth. More than 80 public and private collaborating organizations and Federal programs and agencies joined SAMHSA for the event. New supporters included the Office of Head Start at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Legion Auxiliary.

Nationwide, more than 1,000 community-based mental health service and support providers, programs, schools, and collaborating organization affiliates also celebrated this annual observance. Youth rallies and social media campaigns marked the day, along with art activities for children to raise awareness about mental health.

photo of a child’s hand holding a paintbrush

Awareness Day Turns 5

A “big tent” celebration of visual art, music, and dance by local 5-year-olds energized Awareness Day’s afternoon events, as 50 children, accompanied by their parents and caregivers, expressed themselves to the theme “My Feelings Are a Work of Art.”

As tambourines jingled and drums tapped along, the children twirled and jumped to the beat under red, yellow, blue, and green fabrics floating in the air. Other children focused on their crayons, paints, and drawings-in-progress. With all the children intent on their creations, these exercises demonstrated how the arts can nurture social development.

photo of children painting pictures and adults helping

Displays of the local children’s art work filled the foyer of the evening’s Awareness Day Forum and reception.

Across the Nation, children expressing their feelings through art received national attention on Awareness Day. Caregivers at 800 Head Start sites, military bases, child care programs, local museums, and children’s mental health programs helped children in preschool through 3rd grade create paintings or drawings to spark conversations between adults and young children about their feelings.

A Forum of Experts

For the evening event, an Awareness Day Early Childhood Forum featured presentations by Administrator Hyde and Dr. Joan Lombardi from the Administration for Children and Families at HHS.

photo of children gathered around a multicolored parachute

Hosted by Ann Pleshette Murphy, parenting contributor on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the two discussion panels included Ms. Shepherd in her role as “celebrity-parent” (Jeffrey’s mom), as well as family, child development, and early childhood mental health experts. They explained why positive social and emotional development in children as early as birth is essential to overall healthy development.

Along with SAMHSA’s Dr. Larke Huang and A. Kathryn Power, M.Ed., Director of the Center for Mental Health Services, the panels included:

  • Dr. Janice Cooper, National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University
  • Dr. Lynette Fraga, Zero to Three
  • Dr. Walter Gilliam, the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University
  • Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter, Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University
  • Dr. Judith Romano, representing the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Dr. Ross Thompson, Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis
  • Dr. Albert Zachik, Child and Adolescent Services, Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

In addition to events on Awareness Day, SAMHSA released a report, Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Young Children and Their Families, which describes the academic, social, and emotional performance outcomes of children age 8 and younger receiving services in systems of care.

For details, see Report on Young Children.

Find out more about Awareness Day.

  Cover Story & Related Articles  
Promoting Wellness in Early Childhood

Promoting Wellness in Early Childhood

Project LAUNCH focuses on children from birth to age 8.

  From the Administrator  
Your Responses to What's in a Term?

Your Responses to “What’s in a Term?”

Comments are continuing to arrive in SAMHSA’s email reader-response box. Thank you! Read the responses so far.

Your Comments, Ideas, Personal Stories . . .

Your Comments, Ideas, Personal Stories . . .

SAMHSA has received more than 150 emails in response to the Administrator’s call for comments. Read selected responses.

  Health Reform  

Affordable Care Act: Implications for Behavioral Health

The Act improves services for people who have mental health and substance use disorders.

  Suicide Prevention in American  
  Indian Communities  
Helping Youth “Live To See the Great Day That Dawns”

Helping Youth “Live To See the Great Day That Dawns”

AI/AN youth are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide.

First-Person: Commitment, Hope, Community

Collaborating across tribes helped create a needed publication for AI/AN youth.

  Teens & Substance Abuse  
Adolescents Do What Every Day?

Adolescents Do What Every Day?

A day in the life may include more than texting and homework.

Tobacco Sales to Minors Increasing?

Tobacco Sales to Minors Increasing?

Sales of tobacco to minors increased nationally in 2009.

Youth Smoking & Maternal Risk Factors

Youth Smoking & Maternal Risk Factors

If a mother smokes, does that affect her teen?

Teen Smoking: New Data

Trends in young people’s smoking habits.

TIP 49 in Your Pocket

TIP 49 in Your Pocket

Pocket “Quick Guides” for counselors and physicians.

By Metro Area: Treatment Data

By Metro Area: Treatment Data

Activities in 27 metro areas include Baltimore and San Diego — Metro Briefs.

PRISM Awards Honor Films, Television

PRISM Awards Honor Films, Television

Kudos for the realistic depiction of substance abuse and mental illness in film and TV.

  Staff in the News  
Leadership Award to Kana Enomoto

Leadership Award to Kana Enomoto

The Arthur S. Flemming Awards honors SAMHSA’s Kana Enomoto.

  Ending Seclusion & Restraint  

Organizations Making a Difference

SAMHSA honors facilities for reducing these practices.

  Drug Abuse Warning Network  

Rise in Nonmedical Use of Pain Relievers

Emergency visits double for prescription opioid pain relievers.

  Recovery Month  
Toolkits, Posters Available

Toolkits, Posters Available

For September, planning materials at


Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration – 1 Choke Cherry Road – Rockville, MD 20857
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