May is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month: Focus on Trauma and Violence and Their Effect on Children’s Mental Health and Behavior

samhsaIn honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Illinois PTA would like to bring awareness to the importance of the mental well-being of our children.

Trauma and violence are widespread, harmful, and costly public health concerns. They have no boundaries with regard to age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Trauma is a common experience for adults and children in American communities, and it is especially common in the lives of people with mental and substance use disorders. For this reason, the need to address trauma is increasingly seen as an important part of effective behavioral health care.

Research has shown that traumatic experiences are associated with both behavioral health and chronic physical health conditions, especially those traumatic events that occur during childhood. Substance use (such as smoking, excessive alcohol use, and taking drugs), mental health problems (such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD), and other risky behaviors (such as self-injury and risky sexual encounters) have been linked with traumatic experiences. Because these behavioral health concerns can present challenges in relationships, careers, and other aspects of life, it is important to understand the nature and impact of trauma, and to explore healing.

For full information on effects of violence and trauma, visit the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s) website at: http://www.samhsa.gov/trauma-violence