Each year, Cal-Nev-Ha Kiwanians have the opportunity to support a project by the Governor’s spouse or family. This year, Governor Carole and her family have chosen to support initiatives that address the mental health crises among children and teenagers.
In the U.S., 1 in 6 children aged 2-8 years has a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.¹
The state of child and teen mental health in the United States today is concerning. Studies have shown that rates of anxiety and depression among teenagers have been on the rise in recent years.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 20.1% of adolescents aged 12-17 experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2021². This figure is up from 12.8% in 2019.
“The mental health crisis today – especially among our most vulnerable population – HAS to be addressed. It MUST be a priority. And bullying – by ANYONE – should not and cannot be tolerated. It cannot be dismissed. It cannot be excused. It cannot be reasoned away. If you see something, say something. DO something. Our future depends on it.” – Governor Carole Farris
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals aged 10-14.³
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals aged 10-14. Further, there were nearly two times as many suicides in the United States as there were homicides³.
Many factors contribute to this, including academic pressure, social media use, the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and the current state of the world. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding mental health persists, which can prevent children and teenagers from seeking the help they need.
It is important for parents, educators, and healthcare professionals to prioritize the mental well-being of children and teens and provide them with the necessary resources and support to manage their mental health.
Check out these mental health resources from the National Alliance on Mental Health for ways your club can take action.
As part of our major focus, the Cal-Nev-Ha Children’s Fund provides Pediatric Trauma Program (PTP) grants to assist Kiwanis family clubs in financing new service projects that address pediatric trauma and injury prevention. This includes grant funding for projects that seek to prevent and/or treat child and/or teen mental health issues.
Kiwanis clubs can receive matching grants of up to $2,000, and Service Leadership Program (SLP) clubs can receive grants of up to $500 (with no match required!). Here are some ideas for projects that support our goal:
- Support your local libraries in creating safe spaces for mental health knowledge and access to resources;
- Partner with your local schools to ensure that there are sufficient counselors available for students;
- Host a mental health awareness fair in your community to educate your members on topics including the top 10 common mental health warning signs and ways to end the stigma against mental health.
When you contribute to the First Family Focus, you help young people attain the mental health services they need.
We hope each club will join Governor Carole and her family in promoting the First Family Focus of “Just Be You.” Here are some ways you, your members, clubs, and divisions can contribute:
- Encourage your club to support the First Family Focus with a club donation – Clubs will be recognized with a First Family Focus commemorative banner patch for contributions of $250 or more.
- Develop fundraising or service projects in our community dedicated to addressing child and teen mental health.
- Purchase a time-limited 2023-2024 First Family Focus Pin.