Mental Health Month was launched in 1949, as a means to raise awareness regarding mental health and to encourage early and effective intervention. Since that time, Mental Health Month has become a national observance, occurring throughout the month of May each year.
Research indicates that mental health concerns are common and can be serious:
- 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have or will develop a mental illness.
- 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illnesses develop by age 14.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in youth ages 14-24.
- 90% of those who have died suicide had an underlying mental illness.
Research also indicates that the earlier mental disorders are identified and appropriate supports identified and implemented, the better the outcome. Early intervention is critical! In recent years, the APS Department of Student Services and Special Education (DSSSE) has expanded its existing practices and training opportunities to include a wider array of initiatives, targeting early identification and intervention, along with research-based training in suicide prevention.
APS continues to partner with the community, including Arlington DHS Child and Family Services Division, the Arlington Partnership for Children Youth and Families and NAMI Arlington, to promote mental health awareness, suicide prevention and support initiatives. School Counselors, school psychologists and school social workers are available in every APS school to assist students and families as well. Feel free to contact these staff when you are concerned about your student or if you want more information on mental health and social emotional concerns.
Mental Health Month will be promoted in each APS School. Please join the APS DSSSE in observance of Mental Health Month by considering some of the following options:
- Visit the APS Mental Health Services page, which includes our “Help Yourself/Help a Friend Flyer”:
- Visit the Mental Health America website to access and download the information from the Mental Health Month Toolkit at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may
- Visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website to learn more about mental health and mental illness at http://www.nami.org/Learn-More
- Visit Arlington DHS at http://health.arlingtonva.us/behavioral-healthcare/mental-health/ to learn more about Arlington County mental health and behavioral services.
For more information about mental health awareness initiatives and opportunities, contact Laura Newton, Director of Student Services at 703-228-6061.