Have you ever seen a child acting out in public and silently tsk-tske’d? Have you ever had thoughts like “what’s wrong with him” or “why doesn’t her mother do something about that?”
Of course you have. You’re human.
Maybe you’ve rolled your eyes. Maybe you’ve given silent thanks that your little snowflake doesn’t act like that. Maybe you’ve offered unsolicited parenting advice. I hope not – those things are kind of jerky, but again…you’re human.
But think about it this way: behavior problems should be thought of as a signal that something else wrong in the child’s life. The behavior can be seen as a signal or alert. The behavior itself is rarely the actual problem but usually the product of something else.
Did you know that 1 in 5 children suffer from mental illness? That’s 80,000 children in Bexar County alone.
Out of those 1 in 5 children that suffer from mental, emotional or behavioral problems only 1 in 5 of those children actually receive treatment.
Just let that sink in.
What happens to children who have untreated mental illness? They’re more likely to drop out of high school, to use drugs and alcohol, to end up in the juvenile system or attempt suicide.
We don’t hear a ton about children’s mental health. It’s uncomfortable to talk about. The stigma isn’t as strong as it was 10 or 20 years ago, but it’s still there.
We’re more likely to have a conversation about children’s cancer than we are about children in crisis stemming from mental, emotional or behavioral problems. Let’s face it, if 80,000 kids in Bexar County had leukemia, we’d be talking about it. A lot.May is Mental Health Month - How YOU can make a difference.Click To Tweet
So let’s talk about mental health.
We need to be having more conversations about mental health and thanks to organizations like Clarity Child Guidance Center we are finding new ways to have those conversations.
I’ve been involved with the Listen to Your Mother Show for three years now and honestly, I can’t imagine my life without this movement in it. I read in the Austin show in 2015 and produced my first show here in San Antonio last year. Our 2017 show is on May 13th – the day before Mother’s Day – and I’m so excited to be partnered with Clarity this year. If you don’t know, Listen to Your Mother is a live stage show that features readings by local writers and community members on the subject of motherhood in celebration of Mother’s Day. We allow only local businesses to advertise with our show and each year, we select a different local cause to support. This is my third year being involved with the show and my second as a producer. That’s right, I’m a producer. Does that make me sound important or what?
By the way, our show rocks. Its 90-minutes of hilarious, heartbreaking, laugh-out-loud, cry-out-loud stories of motherhood that will make you leave feeling good. We have 13 talented readers in our 2017 lineup that represent the diversity of motherhood in San Antonio. If you’re thinking this show isn’t for you, not all of our readers are mothers and not all of them are women. Think about it – everyone has a story about their mother or the person who raised them, right? And doesn’t everyone love a good story?
And the best part is that proceeds from ticket sales benefit Clarity, who is doing great things to advance children’s mental health here in our community.
Clarity Child Guidance Center exists to transform the lives of children and families. They are the only nonprofit treatment center in San Antonio and South Texas that specializes in children ages 3-17 who suffer from serious mental health problems. They offer a range of inpatient and outpatient services, from crisis stabilization to psychiatric evaluations to ongoing therapy. Clarity is a United Way agency and provides mental health care to children who could not otherwise afford to receive treatment.
I got the opportunity to visit the Clarity campus recently. I’m not sure what preconceived notions I had about what a mental health treatment facility for children would look like and feel like but the environment at Clarity is very welcoming and positive. It’s not at all institutional and the entire campus gives off a vibe that makes you want to stay…which is exactly why they’re doing such great things there.
Don’t take my word for it. Attend a Meet Me @ Clarity breakfast. Bring a friend and learn how the services provided at Clarity Child Guidance Center are making an impact in the community and working to end the stigma associate with mental illness.
Upcoming dates are May 5 and June 2. Go here to learn more. I promise it’s worth your time. You might not have a firsthand need to learn more about their services but remember that whole 1 in 5 thing? You know someone, whether or not you realize it and arming yourself with the knowledge of what Clarity can do for children in crisis just might help someone. Besides, it’s just kind of awesome to see what they are doing in our community.
Think about all this the next time you see a child acting out in the grocery store. Certainly, not every child throwing a fit because his mom isn’t giving in and buying Captain Crunch has a mental illness, but awareness and compassion are going to go a long way. Awareness and compassion make us stronger community members, better friends and all-around better humans. The more you know, right?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Get the word out about Clarity and the things they’re doing for San Antonio.
Here are some fun ways you can support:
Get a Maynicure
Attend the Maynicure kickoff party at on April 30 between 1 and 4 p.m. at The Veranda. You’ll see the 1 in 5 message come to life when women paint four of their nails one color and one nail a different color, share on social media and challenge friends to do the same. It’s a great conversation starter, plus there’s fun, food and prizes. Who could say no to that?
Attend Listen to Your Mother
Please support Clarity Child Guidance Center by purchasing a ticket to the Listen to Your Mother Show on May 13 at 5:00 p.m. The show has very minimal operating costs and we give every penny possible to Clarity. This is an awesome community event and a fun way to kick off Mother’s Day and we guarantee you will leave with a smile. Buy a ticket here, or visit the Carver Community Cultural Center’s box office from 8-5 Monday through Friday, 226 North Hackberry, San Antonio TX 78202 to avoid the Ticketmaster fees.
And, you don’t have to actually listen to your mother to enjoy this show…I’ll just put that out there. She’s probably right, though. At least that’s what she will tell you!
If you’re in the San Antonio area and want to stay in the loop about what’s next after Listen to Your Mother, subscribe to the blog. Thank you for reading!