What: Children and families throughout the community are invited to a free event to raise awareness about mental health and trauma. This year’s theme is Flight to Freedom: Help and Hope after Trauma. A multitude of child-serving agencies will have booths to give out information to parents about services in our community. We will also have treats, games, prizes, and lots of fun activities and giveaways for the children and youth.
When: Date: May 24, 2018
Time: 4:00PM – 6:00PM
Where: Spring Lake Park, 4303 N Park Rd, Texarkana, TX
Hosted by Community Healthcore: Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services and the (STAR) Program
According to a 2011 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 60 percent of adults report experiencing abuse or other difficult family circumstances during childhood. The same report states 26 percent of children in the United States will experience or witness a traumatic event before they turn 4. Children who experience four or more adverse childhood experiences – such as bullying, witnessing violence, physical abuse, and losing a parent to divorce – have a high risk of chronic health problems as adults, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, suicide, and alcoholism. For example, having four adverse experiences in childhood increases the risk of emphysema or chronic bronchitis by nearly 400 percent, and suicide by 1200 percent.* However, children who have one or more of the following protective factors in their lives are able to combat the negative effects of traumatic events: parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need, and social and emotional competence of children (Horton, 2003).
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 50% of all cases of mental illness start by age 14, and 75% by age 24. One in five youth between 13 and 18 live a with mental health condition. The CDC reports 16.7% of Texas high school students said they had serious thoughts of suicide within the past year. Suicide is second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 and 24. 40% of children and youth who attempt suicide first try in elementary or middle school. It is vital for parents, school personnel, youth pastors, and other people in the community who work with children and youth to be able to recognize the signs of mental illness and the impact of trauma on children’s lives in order better provide the help and hope that lead to recovery.