Singer and songwriter Mary Lambert joined Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in Washington, DC, on May 7 to celebrate National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day.Headlines: Underage Cigarette Smoking Decreases
Mary Lambert Promotes Children’s Mental Health
Singer and songwriter Mary Lambert joined dignitaries in Washington, DC on May 7 to celebrate National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Ms. Lambert served as honorary chairperson of this year’s 10th anniversary celebration themed Strengthening Communities by Integrating Care. She received a special recognition award from Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell for her efforts to promote openness about mental health, particularly among children, youth, and young adults with mental and substance use disorders.
The event kicked off with a special message by Howie Mandel who was the first honorary chair in 2005. “I just wish there wasn’t just one Mental Health Awareness Day,” he said. “I wish every day we were aware of our children’s mental health.”
Participants focused on the many efforts taking place that are primarily the result of a dynamic collaboration among the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Department of Education, the Administration for Children and Families, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. Together, the agencies are trying to integrate services for behavioral health, primary care, child welfare, and education – the settings where challenges are often noticed first.
SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., said “When providers and other professionals who are interacting with a family are communicating with each other, dots are connected. When people are talking, there is a real opportunity to share information that can promote resilience and recovery.”
The importance of connecting and discussing concerns was echoed by Ms. Lambert when she spoke of her experiences with mental illness, body image, and child trauma. She said “I’ve seen the hurt that so many are experiencing. Mental and substance use disorders can be incredibly isolating. It’s difficult enough to fit in at school when you have a unique style or point of view. Once you’ve been branded with a mental illness or substance use issue, it’s hard to get out from under the judgment and segregation.” Ms. Lambert’s openness and promotion of self-care and positive body image have resonated with fans.
“The only way we can truly address the real difficulties being experienced by kids and their families is to talk about it everywhere,” said Ms. Lambert, “in school, at the doctor’s office, on the street, during dinner, at the bus stop… It’s time to make it safe for children, youth, and families to come out of the shadows and experience all the beautiful aspects of life that they deserve.”
Young adults who were previous participants at past celebrations of Awareness Day also attended this year’s event. They showcased cutting-edge strategies for integrating behavioral health in a range of settings and highlighted the importance of identifying and treating child trauma, providing coordinated care, and engaging families so that young people can perform well in school, stay connected to peers, remain healthy, and live full and productive lives.
Federal leaders also spoke of ways they are promoting integrated care. This included remarks by HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Administration for Children and Families Acting Assistant Secretary Mark Greenberg, SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., Health Resources and Services Administration Acting Administrator Jim McRae, M.P.A., M.P.P., and Assistant Secretary of Education Deborah S. Delisle.
The event concluded with a live performance by Mary Lambert where she sang her hit song “Secrets.” She had the audience join her for the chorus “I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are,” which is a reflection of her fearless honesty that has helped make her a role model and a source of encouragement for young people struggling to find acceptance.
If you missed the live broadcast, you can still view the event at KSOC TV Broadcast: National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day 2015.
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