A Message from ACMHAI President Ron Melka
This is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I feel that, as Community Mental Health Authorities, especially this May we need to be particularly aware of the growing needs of our residents. All of us have faced so many challenges. The past year has been particularly volatile in so many ways that can affect mental health. The Covid-19 Pandemic, the last election, the January 6th Capitol mob insurrection, systemic racism such as surrounding the murder of George Floyd and hate crimes toward Asian, and the recent mass shootings have all taken a toll on our communities. In addition, the reduction in mental health services due to pandemic closings and client isolation has made it harder to deliver services to our most vulnerable and thus has increased our communities’ needs even more. Therefore, I ask that you take time this month to consider the overall impact of these events on your local community, rise up to the challenges of our times, and do your best to respond to the need, as your residents had done when they passed the referendums that brought your boards into existence. Of particular need is to inform and educate the public regarding mental health awareness.
ACMHAI is proud to recognize Mental Health Month in May. We've created a social media toolkit to help raise awareness and inspire others to share information and resources on mental health conditions. Help us spread the word by using our sample posts on your social media channels to help raise awareness in your community.
Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949 by the Mental Health America organization. Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses, such as the 18.1% of Americans who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions; and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses.
ACMHAI Social Media Toolkit | Download the toolkit
National Organizations Offering Mental Health Month Activities and Resources:
- Mental Health America (MHA)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- National Council for Behavioral Health
- National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health (NFFCMH)
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Recognize Mothers and Children's Mental Health
Each month, the ACMHAI newsletter will feature a guest post from a member of our Executive Committee.
This month's post is a column published in the Edwardsville Intelligencer by Deborah Humphrey, Chair, ACMHAI Children's Behavioral Health Committee. Deborah is the Executive Director of the Madison County Mental Health Board.
Two significant dates occur in May. The first is one we all recognize is Mother's Day. Hopefully, special planning is underway, and everyone is busy planning something special for their mother. Mother’s Day began in the United States in 1908 and as an official holiday in 1914. This day is a special day that Anna Jarvis was inspired and instrumental in starting to observe, remember, honor, and celebrate motherhood. Anna worked in a public school and worked to commemorate this day in honor of her mother. Her mother had eleven children, was a woman of faith, and a social activist that started Mother’s Day Work Clubs.
It is also National Children’s Mental Health Month when special attention to children and the importance of mental wellness and healthy growth and development are shared. During the month, advocates seek to create public awareness, understanding, and education through various messaging, special events, and proclamations about mental health, mental wellness, and the social-emotional needs of children.
There is a correlation between these two events, one focusing on mothers and the other on children. Motherhood has a direct bearing on children and their mental wellness. A mother-child relationship is different from any other relationship we experience in life. For me, becoming a mother was the happiest and most joyful time in my life. It came with great accountability and concern that I do everything in my ability to help my child grow to be a healthy adult. My child became first and foremost in my life, and that feeling of responsibility continues today.
A child begins bonding with their mother within a few hours of birth, and this relationship grows, and an attachment with the mother occurs. Over the years, the role of mothers has changed, many working outside the home, yet they are still the primary caregiver in families. The influence of a mother continues from birth and early childhood through the transition into adulthood. As mothers, we have a great responsibility in influencing and supporting the healthy development of our children to grow physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively.
Children's Mental Health Month is the perfect time to recognize mothers for the things they have done to build emotional strength and resilience in their children. Mothers work daily providing their child essential, basic needs, food, shelter, and sleep, ensuring their child feels physically and emotionally safe and secure. Mothers show unconditional love, affection, care, constant support, empathy, and understanding and build trust, promoting the positive development of emotional bonds that help children form successful relationships throughout life.
Mothers also model emotionally healthy traits of being genuine, flexible, calm, and lighthearted, but equally important, as their child grows, they establish limits, allow children to problem solve, make decisions and mistakes and deal with consequences. Although ever so hard, these life experiences help children become emotionally strong, resilient, and independent.
I pay tribute to my mother and all mothers, wish them the happiest of Mother’s Day, and honor them for the nurturing and supportive relationship they have provided their children throughout life.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
ACMHAI Committee Meetings
- Children's Behavioral Health: May 27 at 10:00 am
- Medicaid and Managed Care: June 16 at 10:00 am
- Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities: July 13 at 10:00
ACMHAI Professional Development Webinars
The ACMHAI Membership Committee is pleased to offer members with additional education opportunities. Plan to join us for one of our upcoming Professional Development Webinars
June 29, 2021 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm | A Look at the Behavioral Health Landscape and the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Role in Illinois | Speakers: Melinda Roth, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC and Jessica Sullivan, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, Illinois State University - Register here.