|For Immediate Release
26 Apr 99
ARLINGTON, VA (May 1999) Millions of American children experience persistent sadness and hopelessness. They may withdraw from friends and family, perform poorly in school, act out in anger or stop participating in activities they once enjoyed. The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is trying to get the word out that these children may be suffering from a serious illness called depression.
May 4, 1999, marks the third annual Childhood Depression Awareness Day (also known as Green Ribbon Day) which will be supported in communities throughout the country. Promoted around the theme "What's the Matter?" Childhood Depression Awareness Day is designed to educate parents, teachers and other caregivers about the widespread occurrence of depression among American youth.
"Children can and do get depressed," said Laurie Flynn, NAMI executive director. "But by intervening early and providing appropriate education and support, we literally can save lives."
As many as one in 33 children and one in eight adolescents may suffer from depression, according to statistics released by the U.S. Center for Mental Health Services. Moreover, if left untreated, the results of depression can be fatal, including suicide-the leading cause of death among adolescents.
Supported by the leading national mental health and advocacy organizations, national Childhood Depression Awareness Day seeks to increase public awareness of depression in youth and serve as a call to action to help eradicate this highly treatable illness.
If you would like a free brochure on Teenage Depression or Depressive Disorders in Children, please contact the NAMI Helpine at 1-800-950-6264. On-line information about depression and other disorders affecting youth can also be obtained by visiting the NAMI web site at www.NAMI.org/youth.
NOTE TO REPORTERS: If you would like to interview an area family who has been coping with a depressed youngster, please contact the local representative referenced above to coordinate details. For additional information about mental illness in youngsters, please contact Brenda Souto, NAMI associate director of young family outreach and membership, at 703/516-7987.