G.E.A.R. Parent Network is partnering for the 17th year with the Office of Child and Family Services, the Youth Peer Support Network, and the System of Care Planning Team to present the Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week virtual conference, May 1 – 7. This year the 2022 theme is “Acceptance.” (Previously called Children’s Mental Health Awareness).

One positive impact of this pandemic which has challenged everyone’s mental health is that, now more than ever, people are talking about mental health and know it’s important. So, it’s time to move beyond the term awareness. This significant shift to “acceptance” speaks more directly to the goal — to eliminate bias and discrimination that individuals with a mental illness diagnosis or symptoms experience. We believe the term “acceptance” more directly combats prejudice. Mental health exists on a spectrum and almost everyone experiences challenges at some point in their life.

In December of 2021, the Surgeon General issued an advisory highlighting the urgent need to address our nation’s youth mental health crisis further exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The advisory stresses the urgency of the message — that it’s time to move beyond awareness and into acceptance — for multiple reasons.

To accept that 1 in 5 youth experiences a mental health challenge
To accept that mental health challenges must be met with understanding and support
To accept that prejudice and discrimination toward individuals who experience mental health challenges creates a barrier to seeking treatment – and it must be eliminated
To accept that our youth are facing serious challenges ahead that need to be addressed
To accept that the future wellbeing of our country depends on how we support and invest in the next generation

Register to participate in the free Children’s Mental Health conference to learn and have dialogue about the importance of children’s mental health in an effort to foster acceptance and end prejudice and discrimination. There are separate registrations to receive the link to each day’s presentations and by joining you not only will enjoy the powerful presentations you also will receive a certificate of attendance with contact hours for each day you attend. Zoom links will be emailed to you one to three days prior to each conference day.

To register for youth track: gearparentnetwork.org/event/childrens-mental-health-acceptance-week-virtual-conference-youth-track/

To register for parent/provider track: gearparentnetwork.org/event/childrens-mental-health-acceptance-week-virtual-conference-parent-provider-track/