The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) created the You Are Not Alone campaign for Mental Health Awareness Month in May to promote the importance of recognizing and talking about mental health. This month, we want to remind you that you are not alone in tackling the complexities associated with caring for patients experiencing mental health issues. Starting conversations with patients and families around mental illness may be challenging because of associated stigma, time constraints and family resistance or discomfort. As a trusted healthcare provider, you can assist these patients and families in talking about mental illness and dispelling myths and misconceptions about mental health and wellness. The English language contains thousands of words to describe feelings, yet children and adolescents are not always taught to use language to discuss mental health in the same way they learn to discuss physical health. By starting conversations about mental health and wellness, primary care providers can assist their patients in learning that mental health is just as important as physical health. Such discussions normalize emotions and may ease the isolation often associated with mental health issues. Simply asking about emotions and reassuring that as a healthcare provider your job is to listen, signals to that patient that their feelings are valid. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) provides fast facts on talking to children and adolescents about mental illness.
- The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health and The Youth Mental Health Project created an infographic on what parents and caregivers can do to support child and adolescent mental health.
- Mental Health America created Tools 2 Thrive that includes information, fact sheets and tools that promote mental health and resiliency.
- Tundra Books, a children’s book publisher in Canada, curated a list of books for children that focus on emotions and mental illness.