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Techno-Savvy Public Awareness Campaign Enables Families to Send a Powerful Message About Children's Mental Health

Families E-Connect Statewide to Discuss Successes and Challenges

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 27 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 1 million children in California experience an emotional or behavioral disorder every year and more than 600,000 will not receive adequate treatment. A lack of knowledge, stigma, limited funding and inadequate clinical resources in communities delay diagnoses and treatment, putting children at risk for school failure and dropping out, alcohol and drug use, teenage pregnancy, criminal activity and suicide.

"We have children in our communities, homes, schools and churches whose mental challenges render them invisible, undetected and, subsequently, untreated," said Oscar Wright, chief executive officer of United Advocates for Children and Families (UACF). "We must connect with children, their families and the community at-large to provide early detection, treatment, hope, courage and inspiration."

On Wednesday, May 28, UACF will launch a statewide mental health video conference in five major regions of California. About 50 families at these local community sites will join in to kick off the first family-driven, grassroots, public-awareness campaign promoting early mental health identification and intervention.

"For families with mental health needs, there is no respite," adds Wright, whose family has been affected by mental illness. "Through technology, these families will have a visible platform through which to connect with one another, discuss their concerns and call out in unison for change to take place in the current and complicated mental health system statewide. This new coalition will be the start of a powerful family movement to end the social stigmas associated with mental health."

The unique e-connect video conference is appropriately themed, "Be a Friend of MIND ... Start Early(TM)!" It will go live from 5:45 - 7:30 p.m. PST on May 28 with families making their voices heard in the following five regions of the state:

-- Sacramento (UACF Headquarters)

2035 Hurley Way, Suite 290

-- Compton, Los Angeles County (Star View Community Service)

1055 W. Victoria Street

-- Fresno

5130 E. Clinton Way, Suite 2135

-- Oakland (Stars Behavioral Health Group)

7700 Edgewater Drive, Suite 658

-- Redding (A.C.E.S.)

1933 Market Street, Suite C

Children's mental health problems are widespread and can begin at an early age. Consider the following facts:

-- One in five children has a diagnosable mental disorder.

-- The onset of major mental illness may occur as early as 7 to 11 years


-- Factors that predict mental health problems can be identified in the

early years.

-- Of low-income children and youth ages 6 through 17, 21 percent have

mental health problems.

-- Sixty-seven percent to 70 percent of youth in the juvenile justice

system have a diagnosable mental health disorder.

-- Seventy-five percent to 80 percent of children and youth in need of

mental health services do not receive them.

Following the video conference, UACF plans to expand its newly formed coalition of families and supporters and conduct local, grassroots summits for parents, families and youth to address their concerns and challenges until their voices are heard.

United Advocates for Children and Families is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the emotional, behavioral and social well-being of children, youth and families through transformational leadership. To get involved or to help make a difference in the lives of families and their children with mental health needs, contact UACF at (866) 643-1530 or visit

SOURCE United Advocates for Children and Families
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