Our Children and Their Mental Health: A message of hope from Commissioner E. Douglas Varney
NASHVILLE – From the moment they come into this world, our children present us with infinite possibilities. Whether as a parent, sibling, friend, or neighbor, as their guardians and support system, it is our collective duty to ensure their safety and wellbeing and help them realize their strengths and gifts, as well as their limitations and weaknesses.
This is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, in partnership with clinicians and practitioners across the state, are excited about the future for our children. We are working hard every day for the children in our state. Our children have more hope than ever before to reach their full potential which includes proper mental health.
Some children are born with mental health challenges. It is part of their DNA. While for others their condition may be the result of a lack of proper nurturing or perhaps the consequences of being exposed to traumatic experiences.
We see far too many young Tennesseans put themselves at risk of injury, arrest and even death, often times due to an undiagnosed behavioral health condition. It’s our duty to offer them a chance to succeed, as early in life as possible, to help ensure they lead a life with boundless opportunities.
When mental health issues are not dealt with, children can easily become depressed, have anxiety issues, and stop performing well in school, or have little or no interest in activities. They tend to have low self-esteem and struggle in the educational environment.
Research into the science of the mind is revealing so much hope. For instance, we now know that early intervention and seeing a mental health professional as soon as symptoms present themselves can go a long way to ensure the health and wellbeing of a young person later in life.
If given the opportunity, and with a support system in place, we can diagnose and treat their underlying mental health condition and improve their chances of staying in school, finding meaningful work and leading the most productive and fullest life possible.
Join with us this month to help ensure our children don’t slip through the cracks. Our children deserve a life full of love, harmony, and all the hope and possibility we can imagine, no matter the obstacles or impediments.
For information about children’s mental health services in Tennessee, call the Helpline 800-560-5767, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, call 855-274-7471. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For information on children’s health, education, development, and support, visit www.kidcentraltn.com.