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Show-Me Kids at Mental Health Awareness Day

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/showmekids_3239.mp3

Friday May 8th is Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. Here in Missouri, activist groups will gather at the capitol building in Jefferson City for Show-Me Kids Mental Health Awareness Day. KSMU's Megan Keathley has more.

"What a Difference a Friend Makes" is the theme for this year's Show-Me Kids Mental Health Awareness Day. Poems and pieces of original artwork created by Missouri children will be on display on the third floor of the capitol building rotunda.

Show-Me Kids is a partnership of Missouri schools, mental health centers, and several other youth service groups dedicated to establishing care systems for children with mental health concerns. Members of the organization will spend Children's Mental Health Awareness Day in Jefferson City, lobbying with Missouri legislators for their support of localized mental healthcare.

Nora Cox is Communications Coordinator for the Show-Me Kids Project. She says the organization has spent five years collecting data, which shows higher success rates for children who are treated closer to home.

In addition for garnering support from Missouri legislators, goals of the Show-Me Kids Project and Awareness Day include emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis, as well as addressing mental health stigmas. Cox says she hopes to see such assumptions put aside.

Early detection and treatment has been shown to prevent children from dropping out of school, going to juvenile detention, engaging self-harm, substance abuse and even suicide.

According to the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 79% of children with mental health disorders nationwide do not receive necessary mental health care, although the treatment success rates today are close to 80%.