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SAMHSA Honors Goldie Hawn, Youth Across the Country in Celebration of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
Date:5/8/2009

Hawn, Sabrina Bryan, Solomon Trimble, and more than 40 mental health and child-serving organizations join SAMHSA to increase awareness of children's mental health

WASHINGTON, May 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Eight young performers living with mental health challenges from across the country joined child advocate Goldie Hawn last night for a celebration of resilience. The event was part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) "HEAR ME NOW: A Celebration of Resiliency through the Performing Arts" commemoration of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, which took place at the Harman Center For the Arts in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090508/DC13740)

Hawn received the SAMHSA Special Recognition Award for her work to increase public understanding of the role mental health plays in the total well-being of children and youth through her non-profit foundation, The Hawn Foundation. SAMHSA presented the award at the national Awareness Day event that was co-hosted by Twilight's Solomon Trimble and Disney's The Cheetah Girls' Sabrina Bryan.

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is SAMHSA's annual demonstration of collaboration among numerous and diverse individuals, organizations, and agencies in the public and private sector working to provide greater access to community-based mental health services for children and youth with serious mental-health needs and their families.

"National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day offers an opportunity to raise broader awareness about the importance of social and emotional well-being in youth," said acting SAMHSA Administrator Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H. "The performers last night show that young people with mental health challenges can thrive in their community. SAMHSA studies show that access to comprehensive mental health services has incredible impact. Students are less likely to drop out of high school or receive school disciplinary action, and more likely reach higher levels of achievement after participating in systems of care programs."

More than 750 attendees enjoyed song, dance and recited spoken word performances by youth performers from SAMHSA-funded system of care communities which are networks of community-based comprehensive mental health services and supports that help children. The performances demonstrated the power of the performing arts in helping youth with mental health needs thrive at home, at school, and in the community.

Performers included Jasmine Flenoy from Cuyahoga Tapestry System of Care in Cleveland, OH; Max Health and Kristian Smith from 7 Generation in Los Angeles, CA; Marquee James and Mya Meriweather from Allegheny County System of Care in Pittsburgh, PA; Marquita Jones from San Francisco System of Care in San Francisco, CA; Eddie Ortiz from Columbia River Wraparound in Dalles, OR; and Sam Stache from Community Circle of Care in Dubuque, IA.

Communities across the country also observed the day with events, youth demonstrations, and social networking campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of children's mental health and the need for community-based children's mental health supports and services. More than 40 leading child- and youth-serving agencies and organizations joined SAMHSA in championing Awareness Day this year, speaking as a unified voice to support children and youth with mental health needs and their families.

For the first time, SAMHSA and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (established by current Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper) collaborated to raise awareness about children's mental health in celebration of Awareness Day. The observance offered the two nations an opportunity to focus attention on increasing access to services for children and youth with mental health needs and their families through community events and outreach to the public.

For more information about National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, visit www.samhsa.gov/children.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead Federal agency for improving the quality and availability of substance abuse prevention, addiction treatment, and mental health services in the United States.


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SOURCE Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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