The Organization That’s Game-Changing Childhood Mental Health

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Latino and other kids with mental health issues may not understand their feelings.

Parents and schools may not know how to deal with children who experience trauma or depression.

Sadly, this creates an environment where Latinos—already less likely than their white peers to use mental healthcare services—struggle with suicide and other poor health and academic outcomes.

Mental Health America is here to help.

How a Suicide Attempt Started It All

Mental Health America formed more than 100 years ago.

In the early 1900s, Clifford Beers was suffering from bipolar disorder after the death of his old brother.

Beers attempted to take his own life by jumping off of a three story building. Clifford was severely injured and placed in an institution, where he reported being horribly mistreated.

clifford beers mental health americaSoon after, Beers published his autobiography, A Mind That Found Itself, which at the time sets a reform in motion. Beers worked hard to show that mental health issues needed attention, alongside policy and system changes.

In 1909, Beers even launched the National Committee for Mental Hygiene.

That later became the National Mental Health Association, and today what is now called Mental Health America.

Today, Mental Health America has an established record of effective national and grassroots advocacy and achievement. With over 200 affiliates in 41 states, 6,500 affiliate staff and over 10,000 volunteers, the organization is a powerful voice for healthy communities throughout the nation.

Beneficial Policy Changes

Mental Health America has helped implement several policies to improve childhood mental health.

Latino mental health infographic by mental health americaFor example, they helped get the Mental Health Parity Act signed into law. The measure brings for more equality to health insurance coverage of mental health care. That’s important for Latinos, as fewer Latino children (8%) than white children (14%) reported that their child had ever used mental health care services.

The organization also has a section devoted to Latino mental health, including many Spanish-language resources.

They also raise awareness and conduct many campaigns and programs across the country.

How Can Mental Health America Help You?

mental health america spanish screen testMental Health America has created a mental health screening tool on its website, available in English and Spanish.

The tool allows you to choose a topic and then review your mental health in that topic. The tool includes check-boxes for ways the organization can intervene, such as through its local affiliate network, phone numbers for immediate assistance, or referrals to mental healthcare services.

The website also allows for anonymous sharing for individuals that choose to do so.

They also offer Back to School and Campus Life resources for youth and schools, which also helps people to start a conversation about mental health.

Paying it Forward

Mental health sometimes gets overshadowed by bigger issues, because its not visible to the public.

Clifford Beers wanted to expand knowledge nationwide about mental health.

Mental Health America seized that mission and has transformed over the years into an organization that provides resources for people to use to promote mental health. Clifford Beers opened up doors for us so that we too have a voice.

So what can you do?

Take advantage of these awesome ways to volunteer or partner with Mental Health America.

And don’t hesitate to use the Mental Health Screening Tool if you think your child or someone you know may be struggling with mental health issues.

You can help improve the lives of Latino and all children!

By The Numbers By The Numbers

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