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Jenna Lugonja
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Head Start/Early Head Start celebrates National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

MIAMI (May 12, 2017)

Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services Department (CAHSD) Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) joined more than 1,000 communities and national organizations across the country in celebrating the 5th Annual Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day on May 4, 2017. This year’s theme “Partnering for Help and Hope” explored how communities can increase access to behavioral health services and supports for children, youth, and young adults who experience mental or substance use disorders and their families.

In recognition of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, eleven (11) CAHSD HS/EHS delegate agencies hosted showcases of their classrooms to highlight the practices used to enhance child mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention in the classroom. Activities emphasized emotional literacy, self-regulation and developing positive peer and adult relationships. The role that parents, teachers and other significant adults play in helping preschool children, ages birth to age five, to develop secure attachments which promote resilience was also highlighted.

Participating agencies included Paradise Christian Hialeah, which celebrated their model classroom grand opening, along with Catholic Charities Good Shepherd, Easter Seals Jackson Dade, Family Christian Association of America Children’s Place, Haitian Youth Lillie M. Williams, KIDCO V, Miami-Dade County Public Schools-Ethel T. Beckford Richmond Primary Learning Center, O’Farrill Learning Center, Our Little Ones, St. Albans Coconut Grove and the YWCA Colonel Zubkoff. The event was supported by several community partners including Behavioral Aid Solutions, Bio Behavioral Go2Help Network, the Center for Family and Child Enrichment, Chrysalis Health, New Horizons Community Mental Health Center and Jewish Community Services Switchboard of Miami Family Counseling Services.