Join David Lawrence Center During Mental Health Awareness Month and #StandUp for Healthy Minds and Safe Kids
May 8th, 2018
The Parkland school shooting is still fresh in our minds and hearts. It remains a sobering reminder of the importance of students’ mental and emotional well-being.
Sadly, our children are more at risk than ever before. At risk of being bullied — in person or in cyberspace. At risk of suicide. At risk of being exposed to deadly opioids. And in today’s culture, they are at risk every time they walk onto a school campus.
With 50 percent of all lifetime cases of mental illness beginning by age 14, the time is now to intervene to help our youth grow healthy minds and learn effective coping strategies. That’s why this month, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, David Lawrence Center is launching #StandUp, a community-wide campaign to help keep our kids healthy and safe.
The goal of the #StandUp campaign is to bring attention to the issues of mental and emotional health so we can intervene earlier and avoid tragedies like in Parkland and far too many other schools. In Southwest Florida, there are 46,000 youths between the ages of 0 to 17 who have a serious, debilitating mental illness – that represents 20 percent of the youth population who need our help.
Yet currently, on average, it takes about eight to 10 years from the onset of symptoms to the time of intervention, with many waiting until adulthood to seek help. We must #StandUp to prevent this unnecessary suffering and the damaging, lasting effects of untreated mental illness, including jail, unemployment and death.
Untreated mental illness and addictions lead to more deaths than traffic accidents, HIV/AIDS and breast cancer combined. We need to #StandUp for our young people – those in high school, college, or entering the workforce – who are dying prematurely in the primes of their lives largely due to preventable causes.
- The rate of suicide in the United States has increased an alarming 24 percent in the last 20 years and today accounts for 18 percent of deaths among people ages 15 to24 years old.
- Homicide is the third leading cause of death among this age group, 87 percent of which were committed with firearms.
- At 15 percent, the fourth leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults were induced by drugs or alcohol.
We can and must do better.
The #StandUp movement is about education, raising awareness, developing collaborations, and increasing screening and follow-up care. Together, as neighbors, we can #StandUp to help identify troubled children at risk early and ensure easy, direct access to expert counselors.
At David Lawrence Center, accessing help is easy and immediate. For crisis situations, counselors are available 24 hours a day through the Emergency Services Assessment Center, and sameday, walk-in assessments for all new clients are available five days a week through the Access Center.
Already our team of professionals is taking action to help keep kids safer at school, at home, and in the community. By working with educators, youth organizations, churches and law enforcement, we are working hard to better protect our kids, save lives and connect children with the care they need, when and where they need it.
David Lawrence Center now has two mental health liaisons working full time in local schools, coordinating with teachers, coaches, and counselors to identify kids in crisis and ensure they receive help. This year, we also embedded a DLC clinician with the Sheriff Office’s Mental Health Intervention Team who responds to emergency calls that are suspected to have a mental health concern. This team responded to the many threats in our local school following the Parkland shooting and will continue to respond and monitor all future threats.
All we need now is the community to join us by supporting those around us. We need you to show compassion, understanding and support for mental health and to #StandUp to help. By doing this, we make Collier County healthier, happier, stronger and safer—one child, one family at a time.
Visit www.StandUpDLC.org to join the movement and learn how to help shine light on mental health and addiction issues that affect us all. To seek help 24-7 for a yourself, friend or fellow community member, call David Lawrence Center at (239) 455-8500 or visit www.DavidLawrenceCenter.org. Because healthy minds mean safer kids.
By: Scott Burgess,
President and CEO
David Lawrence Center