Keiki Mental Health Awareness is Everyone’s Kuleana

Green Ribbon representing Mental health awareness month

No matter your age – from keiki to kupuna and everyone in between – being aware and taking care of your mental health matters. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) is partnering with the national Children’s Mental Health Awareness Planning Group to put together several activities aimed at raising awareness of the need for comprehensive, coordinated mental health services among keiki, young adults and their ohana.

Activities follow the theme “Bringing Children’s Mental Health into Focus – Perfect Vision in 20/20.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve been modified to promote physical distancing and adhere to other coronavirus guidelines. The trio of family-ready activities include:

  • A Facebook Watch Party hosted on the Hawaii Women in Filmmaking Facebook page. It showcases short films made by participants in the online Reel Camp for Girls, which took place during the first week of Hawaii’s Stay-at-Home orders. The free film screenings will be followed by a Q&A session with the young filmmakers. Email aloha@hawaiiwomeninfilmmaking.org for an invitation to the virtual Zoom event. The watch party starts on Thursday, May 21, 3 p.m.
  • “A Look Within Through Creativity,” part of a Healing Arts Series hosted by the Hawaii Arts Alliance and Mental Health America of Hawaii. Each event in this free series aims to explore how creativity can increase self-awareness, grow emotional resilience and promote a sense of personal wellness. Go to the Mental Health America of Hawaii online training web page, or contact Sara Mizban at sara@hawaiiartsalliance.org, for more information or to register. Held every Wednesday in May at noon.
  • An evening green-light display recognizing Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month that families can check out from the safety of their car – or outside, practicing physical distancing – at Honolulu Hale, May 18-22. Why green? It’s the official color of mental health awareness. It represents hope, strength, support and encouragement for people afflicted by mental illness.

Remember that as we all continue to “stand strong together by staying apart” during the COVID-19 crisis, we should also stand together for public mental health awareness and support for our keiki and adults. There are local resources available right here in Hawaii for families seeking more knowledge about child mental health matters, in addition to national resources spotlighting activities families can access all year long.

For more immediate care if you or your child are experiencing a crisis, call Hawaii CARES (Coordinated Access Resource Entry System) for free, 24/7 support at (800) 753-6879, or text ALOHA to 741741. Also, be sure to check out the DOH Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division’s website for more information on its services.

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