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May 20 Declared As ‘Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day’ In Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — As part of National Mental Health Awareness Month, Gov. Spencer Cox declared Thursday as “Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day” in Utah.

“Young children have mental health and it is important that we recognize that,” said Rebecca Dutson, president & CEO of The Children’s Center.

Dutson said includes infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and the sooner adults are made aware of children’s mental health, the sooner they can address concerns early on.

“We are used to thinking about mental health as something that youth have something adults have and quite candidly, we all have mental health,” said Dutson.

She also said for Cox to declare May 20 as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Utah is a significant step.

“What it means for the governor to proclaim today as mental health awareness day is the distinction, recognition and acknowledgment really,” said Dutson.

A recent study commissioned by the Children’s Center and conducted by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah found Utah has some of the highest levels of child and adolescent mental health disorders and the highest prevalence of youth with untreated mental health needs in the U.S.

Of Utah’s 458,000 children between 0 and 8 years old, 10% to 20% will experience mental health concerns.

“That’s a lot of children — that’s between 45,000 and 90,000 kids,” said Dutson said, encouraging families to take action. “You’re the closest person to that child so when you feel that something is different or off than what it normally is connect with your pediatrician and start that conversation.”

If more expert help is needed organizations like the Children’s Center are here for families.

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