PADUCAH, KY – This week marks the beginning of National Mental Health Awareness Month. As part of the month of awareness, Thursday, May 5, has been set aside specifically for children.
Four Rivers Behavioral Health has planned “Day of Awareness” in the Center for Specialized Children’s Services at the organization’s corporate office in downtown Paducah.
The Center for Specialized Children’s Service will have candy, balloons and balloon animals for children who have scheduled appointments that day and educational material for parents.
Parents thinking about seeking treatment for a child are encouraged to contact the Center for Specialized Children’s Services for detailed information about how therapy works and what to expect. Awareness Day is designed to show that working with a therapist is not something ‘scary’ and certainly nothing to be embarrassed about. The agency will be decked-out in green and staff will wear green ribbons, as green is the color theme for this year’s awareness month.
Wendy Lay, Director of Children’s Services at Four Rivers Behavioral Health said, “Many children and their parents fear therapy, for reasons ranging from a perceived social stigma to a fear of children talking to someone they don’t know well. Mental Health Awareness, especially for children, is a simple outreach effort on our part to help alleviate those fears.”
She continued, “We have nearly 1,000 consumers on our case load in the Center for Specialized Children’s Services and while that number is great, there are so many more children who could benefit from therapy.”
Lay pointed out, “Four Rivers Behavioral Health has just recently opened our Testing & Assessment Center, where we can assess children of all ages ranging from toddlers to adolescents using specific tests to assess and diagnose everything from a learning disability to Autism Spectrum Disorders.”
“A complete diagnoses is so important in treatment. As you can well imagine, it is difficult to treat something if you don’t know what it is. Psychological Testing gives us that diagnosis, and we are so lucky to have a Testing & Assessment Center right here, on site.” Said Lay.
In addition, Four Rivers Behavioral Health clinicians will be participating in a national conversation through a program offered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Text, Talk, Act program through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a national effort that pulls together professionals from across the country via text messaging. Small group discussions are organized and discussion questions are suggested to lead participants into conversations about children’s mental health issues. Anyone can participate in the Text, Talk and Act program by visiting https://www.creatingcommunitysolutions.org/texttalkact
Also, a Twitter hashtag, #HeroesofHope, has been established to allow mental health professionals to share ideas and perspectives leading up to Awareness Day and throughout the month of May.
Currently celebrating its fiftieth year, Four Rivers Behavioral Health is a private, not-for-profit agency that provides comprehensive mental health, substance abuse and developmental/intellectual disability services to clients in Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, McCracken, and Marshall Counties.