Staying mentally healthy can be a difficult task. The stresses and struggles of modern life often require people sacrifice their mental health just to keep up with day-to-day living. While often people think of adults confronting mental illness, children are often dismissed as just “going through a phase” when they are facing down an oncoming mental crisis. As many as one in five children under 17 have a diagnosable mental disorder according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thankfully, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Extra Life’s amazing community are helping to build the facilities necessary for treating those kids.
One of the biggest mental health projects accomplished by the fundraising of dedicated Extra Lifers definitely goes to Rooster Teeth’s efforts with Dell Children’s Medical Center in central Texas. The Rooster Teeth community rallied around the hospital to raise over $3 million over three years to fund the creation of the Rooster Teeth Healing Garden, a space for kids to play outside while still receiving the care they need.
Brandy Hart, a clinical administration officer at Dell Children’s Medical Center explained the importance of the space, saying: “We know that being in a hospital for several days is not ideal. You’re removed from family and friends and often need an outlet. We treat kiddos as young as six and everyone needs physical activity. Research also shows that physical activity helps with dealing with stresses, mental illnesses, so [having access to] that space is amazing. […] It really shows that we can have a holistic approach to mental healthcare and not just what is within the walls of the hospital.”
Extra Lifers support far more than just Dell Children’s, however. Hospitals across the United States and Canada are able to better provide for the mental health of kids coming through their doors. Here are just a few of the exciting things going on at a handful of the hospitals Extra Lifers fight for every year.
A new mental health center for children and adolescents has been revealed. The building is set to be built in Calgary to provide walk-in services, community treatment, and a day hospital for the surrounding area. The center has been designed to provide a balance of architecture and natural space all specifically geared toward children. The construction will begin later this fall and the building will begin offering care to children starting in 2019.
Suicide has become a huge problem facing the children of Colorado. In fact, it has become the leading cause of death for children aged 10-14. The state’s children are facing a crisis in mental health, but many who live there can’t get access to care. The Pediatric Mental Health Institute at Children’s Colorado wants to change that. The goal of the program is to add beds, provide education for parents and kids about mental health, reach out to kids in rural communities, and redesign parts of the hospital to better accommodate mental health needs.
Toronto is home to The SickKids Centre for Brain & Mental Health, a facility and program that helps to identify and treat mental health disorders. Many of the difficulties brought on by mental illnesses, especially those in children, can be alleviated by early detection and beginning treatment as soon as possible. The center helps to reach out across the communities of Ontario, bringing specialized care into schools and hospitals across the province. Detecting and providing care for infant strokes, autism, epilepsy, and more are important parts of the center. It also conducts research to help both children and adults, paving the way for a healthier mental future.
Attitudes regarding mental health, especially when it comes to children, are beginning to shift. People across the world are learning that a sizable number of people, both big and small, need mental health help. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so please join Extra Life in making a difference for the kids and families who seek help at your local children’s hospital.