What is Children’s Mental Health Awareness?


Wear a Green Ribbon
Green signifies new life, new growth and new
beginnings. Wear a green ribbon to raise public
awareness to better the lives of children and youth with
serious emotional disorders and to show our support for
these children and their families.

Why Green?

To Combat Stigma! In the 1800s the color green was used to brand people who were labeled “insane.” The children’s mental health community decided to continue using the color green, but with a completely different focus. Green signifies new life, new growth, and new beginnings. Therefore, we wear green ribbons to raise public awareness, better the lives of children with serious emotional disorders and show our support of these children and their families.

History of Children’s Mental Health Awarness Week

In 1949, The National Mental Health Association declared May as Mental Health Month. Although this nationally recognized observance began as Mental Health Week, with an increase in public interest and a broadening scope of issues, it grew into a month-long awareness campaign.

1950s-60′s. Through the next 2 decades, special emphasis was placed on educating the public around mental illness and inviting them to state hospitals and other locations to learn more.  In the late 1960s, this national observance was expanded to become May is Mental Health Month to bring greater awareness to the importance of mental health care.

1970s. In the 1970s observances shifted to community based events as state hospital “patients” were moved to community settings.

In 1991, a group of parents in Missouri got together and decided that one of the most important projects they could undertake was  to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding children’s mental health.  They formed a coalition of parents, professionals and other stakeholders and created Children’s Mental Health Aware-ness Week.  Over the next five years three more states, Kansas, Illinois and Ohio began their own celebration of Children’s Mental Health Week. The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health later joined the coalition and promoted the mission.

In 1996, PAL launched the first Children’s Mental Health Week in Massachusetts.  Its theme was “One Youth At A Time” and included posters, a tool kit, as well as public service announcements. The campaign has grown each year since then.

In 2004, the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health declared the first full week of May as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week nationally.  National Federation partners and all 120 Federation chap-ters and state organizations were invited and encouraged to participate in a week long celebration of advocacy and awareness efforts.

In 2006, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services launched an annual national initiative called “National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day,” which occurs during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

In 2007, the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health launched the Annual Green Ribbon Campaign, one of the their most important awareness and education campaigns.  The green ribbon is a key symbol in social marketing and awareness efforts.  It is an uplifting campaign while also spreading awareness and serving to spread awareness through positive public health promotion effort and begin dialogue throughout communities nationally and internationally.

Today, the goal of this nationally recognized event is to increase public awareness and educate communities to expand the understanding of children’s mental health needs and their resulting impact on families.

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is the National Federation’s yearly event, geared toward raising awareness to the issues and causes integral to the children’s mental health field in each of the communities across the country. This year’s celebration will begin on Sunday, May 3rd and will continue through Saturday May 9th, 2015.

This Year’s Theme

Mental Health is Fundamental.

For Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2015, the National Federation will focus on the importance of including mental health in all public health conversations.  Mental Health is essential to overall health. We must treat mental health challenges with the same urgency and respect as we treat physical health challenges.  Holistic health depends on our ability to be well, mind and body, which can be achieved through integrated care across systems.

No more shame.  No more silence.

Send Us Your Activities!

Please share the activities that your organization is planning for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week with us. We would also like to see any photos of your event after the week has concluded. Please send any flyers, pictures and a description of your event to Joy Spencer at jspencer@ffcmh.org. We would like to share your success!

Stay Connected

Countless individuals, communities and organizations will use this week to collectively raise awareness about children’s mental health.  Be sure to visit this page as well as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.

Green Ribbon Campaign

We are continuing The Green Ribbon Campaign as a part of our social marketing and awareness efforts. This is an uplifting campaign that allows us to celebrate children and provide hope and unity throughout the children’s mental health arena and the family movement. It also spreads awareness about our cause.

Your support means a great deal! We want to thank everyone who has already purchased ribbons and other items to help raise awareness in their communities. If you have not had a chance to order your items, be sure to check out our store before we run out!

We are also offering Chapters who order items from our store the option to receive 25 free ribbons with every order.

Making the Difference

As we celebrate National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the National Federation reaches out to you, in our shared vision for our nation’s children, youth and families. It is through our combined efforts that growth, renewal and the promotion of positive mental health will impact the well-being of our children. Our voices carry volumes in bringing about change. Speak out and be heard. Let our message ring in the ears of others: Children’s Mental Health Matters!