Golden Globe Award-winning actress and bestselling children’s book author Jamie Lee Curtis will join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as honorary national spokesperson to celebrate the sixth annual National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on May 3 in Washington, DC. This year’s national event, “Building Resilience in Young Children Dealing with Trauma,” pays tribute to children who experienced trauma very early in life, but later recovered and are now thriving.
It is estimated that 26 percent of children in the United States will experience or witness a traumatic event before the age of 4. Traumatic events include physical and sexual abuse, domestic or community violence, natural disasters and economic hardships within families. The good news is that with help from families, providers and communities, young children can demonstrate tremendous resilience.
Emmy award-winning journalist Byron Pitts of the “CBS Evening News” and CBS’ “60 Minutes” will emcee the tribute event honoring youth who have experienced early childhood trauma and the caregivers who helped them recover. The event will feature true stories of trauma and resilience from young people across the country, as well as live performances from Arcadian Broad of “America’s Got Talent” and students from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will join Curtis, Pitts, notable guests and youth from across the country to celebrate the impact positive mental health can have on building resilience in children from birth. The tribute event will also feature an art exhibit sponsored by the American Art Therapy Association. The exhibit will be a unique collection of artwork, including pieces submitted by child directly affected by the 9/11 attacks, “The Art of Sybil” by Shirley Ardell Mason — depicted by Sally Fields in the television movie, “Sybil” — and art from The Glass Books Project in partnership with Witness Justice.
If you’re in Washington, DC, on May 3, you can join the celebration at the Shakespeare Theater, Harman Center for the Arts or you can watch the live webcast online. To learn more, visit www.samhsa.gov/children.