Each new school year brings a mixture of emotions for students, whether they are heading off to pre-school through post-graduate studies. They may mourn the end of summer but look forward to seeing friends. They may be excited about new challenges but worry about academic pressure and peer pressure. As developing minds process these emotions, they often complicate emerging or ongoing behavioral health issues. Given that one-half of mental illnesses begin before age 14 and three quarters before age 25, it is critical, therefore, for students to have access to high-quality behavioral health services.
Main page content
At SAMHSA’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day event in May, I had the opportunity to speak with the event’s honorary chairperson, Reid Ewing. If you’re a fan of the television show “Modern Family,” you may recognize him as Dylan, the former boyfriend of one of the show’s main characters.
At the event, Reid bravely shared his challenges with body dysmorphic disorder and depression, and how important his family has been to his recovery.
There are many studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of peer support. For example, research has demonstrated that peer support helps improve the mental health of veterans, makes people reduces hospital visits for those with co-occurring disorders, and increases coping skills of families with a family member who has a mental illness. Because of studies like these, SAMHSA, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and over 40 states consider peer and family support an evidence-based practice.
Beyond the numbers, stories from real people who have had their lives changed for the better show how critical it can be. Here’s what one man in recovery named Jeff had to say:
By: Lisa Rubenstein, Government Project Officer, Caring for Every Child's Mental Health Campaign, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services AdministrationToday, at the 2014 National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (Awareness Day) national launch event, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is shining a light on the importance of peer support for young adults with behavioral health conditions. This year’s event is focusing on youth and young adults (ages 16-25) who have mental and/or substance use disorders.