MediaWatch: Don’t Forget the Children

JUN. 08, 2016

By Bob Carolla

Let’s applaud WAMU-FM, the National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate in Washington, D.C. for a recent five-part series on children, mental health and schools.

Each episode (available in both audio and text) can be found here:

This topic is incredibly prevalent today due to the fact that one in five teens lives with a mental health condition and approximately 50 percent of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. Parents, teachers and students may not know or recognize telling symptoms, contributing to the unfortunate fact that suicide is the second-leading cause of death for youth aged 15 to 24.

A national version of the series with additional information will air later this summer on NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition programs. NPR’s education programming team worked with WAMU’s Kavitha Cardoza in producing the series.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration sponsored a webcast specifically for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: “Finding Help. Finding Hope.” The discussion included youth, family and professional voices on systems of care. “We had nobody,” said one father, “nobody was listening to us.”

The need for help and hope is not limited to a single day or month. NAMI offers programs and resources year-round to address the needs of parents, teachers and students. NAMI Basics is a six-week class for parents and other family caregivers of children and teens who have either been diagnosed with a mental health condition or who are experiencing symptoms but have not yet been diagnosed. NAMI Parents & Teachers as Allies is a 90-minute presentation for teachers and other school personnel. NAMI Ending the Silence is a 50-minute in-school presentation for middle and high school students. Find out more about NAMI program availabilities through the NAMI state or affiliate office nearest you.

And keep watching and listening in your community for media stories that cover mental health concerns. Share them with family, friends, neighbors and elected officials. Keep the conversation going.

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