SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – May is recognized annually as Mental Health Awareness Month. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Utah, more than 40 million people in the U.S. are living with a mental health condition. Approximately one in five Utahns experienced a mental illness in the past year. Children are also impacted by mental health illness and spectrum disorders. During this time of heightened anxiety and isolation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, NAMI says it is important for the mental health movement to come together.
Rebecca Dutson, president and CEO of the Children’s Center and Jennifer Mitchell, vice president of clinical strategy and innovation at the Children’s Center, join ABC4‘s Nick McGurk to talk about their organization, the difficulties of diagnosing mental health issues for children, how issues of spectrum disorders such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder manifest itself in children, how often parents need to think about mental wellness in their kids, and statistics about children mental health in Utah.
In part two of their discussion, Dutson and Mitchell talk about the impact of the pandemic on children mental health, how parents can frame their questions to get the information they need to help them, what parents should be on the lookout for, when parents should seek additional help outside the home, and the importance of legislation for caregiver and early childhood funding in jobs.
Rob Wesemann, the executive director for NAMI Utah, joins the conversation to discuss mental health issues that parents could experience, postpartum depression for new mothers, the new data from the pandemic, how difficult it may be for someone to recognize that they need help, and the resources that NAMI offers.
NAMI Utah will launch its first ever virtual fundraiser, NAMIWalks Your Way Utah, on May 30. For more information on the event, visit the NAMIWalk Utah website. For new online family and connection support groups, visit NAMI Utah’s programs page. For You Are Not Alone resources, visit NAMI Utah’s Mental Health Month page.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Dutson, Mitchell, and Wesemann, click on the video at the top of the article.