This past weekend was Ebertfest – a yearly film festival in our community. One of the films shown at the festival was “Louder Than a Bomb” by Greg Jacobs and John Siskel about youth expressing themselves through their poetry.
Youth in our community are also raising their voices through poetry, writing about issues that affect them such as domestic violence, bullying, juvenile detention issues, suicide, peer pressure, learning disabilities, homosexuality, substance abuse and other stresses. The state of our mental health affects our overall health and well being. Most of us know that emotional, behavioral and mental health issues of children and youth exist in our communities. What we need to do is make sure families and youth are aware of the fact that these are treatable conditions and can be helped by taking advantage of health services and community support systems. And to be useful these programs must be guided by the needs of the youth and the family and should be culturally appropriate. Since most of us have dealt with family or friends with mental illness we know that acceptance of and integration into society of individuals with mental illness needs to occur but that will only happen if we as a society abolish the stigma that surrounds mental illness. (reference)
This week May 1-7 2011 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and “draws public attention to the successes and the challenges in the children’s mental health movement and the importance of youth and families in this movement.” The theme this year is The Diversity and Resilience of Our Families.
Watch this video clip which is being used as a poster in the campaign. The video addresses the issues that we see and hear about in our own communities but also in the communities on the Reservation in the population Sew For Kids is trying to help. Having a safe place where children and families can go to enjoy healthy activities that strengthen the family unit and community friendships and receive support and needed resources will help promote good mental health. Of course having access to mental health counseling and other medical and social services are a necessary part of the picture as well.
We need your help to provide basic needs and activity items for the children and their families in the community of Wanblee. Please help them by checking the needs list here and consider donating some of those items to help support programs we are initiating with our Rez friends. Remember that popular phrase coined by Hilary Rodham- Clinton “It takes a village to raise a child”. This article is not only informative but supports that idea. Check it out.