DCF Recognizes Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is collaborating with community organizations nationwide today to recognize National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and the impact of children’s mental health and wellness on their development.

“It is vital that we ensure our children have the support they need to grow up safe, healthy, and developmentally and academically prepared to live their best life,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said. “We must break down the negative stigma around asking for help and make caring for mental health as imperative as physical health.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), more than 50 percent of students age 14 and over with a mental illness drop out of school. Further, NAMI reports that suicide is the second-leading cause of death in youth ages 15-24, with 90 percent of those having an underlying mental health condition. In 2014, suicide was the third-leading cause of death when children as young as 5 were included. DCF works closely with the statutorily created Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council to develop strategies for preventing suicide, and offers many resources for at-risk youth.

The 2016 theme for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is “Finding Help. Finding Hope.” Research shows that education, early intervention and access to behavioral health care are the keys to promoting mental health in children, youth and families.

Contact: Michelle Glady, DCF Press Secretary, (850) 717-4450