Resilience is good for a healthy childhood

Published 9:57 am Thursday, May 16, 2013

Column: Partners in Prevention, by Alice Englin

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month.

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is a key strategy of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health Campaign.

Alice Englin

Alice Englin

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The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health so that children, youth and young adults receive help for mental health disorders with the same urgency as any other health condition and, ultimately, to reduce the impact of mental illness on America’s communities.

This year, the focus is on the importance of social connectedness in building resilience in young adults with mental health and substance use challenges between the ages of 16 and 24 years old.

With the help of caring adults and informed community based services young people can demonstrate resilience and thrive as they transition into adulthood.

What is the definition of social connectedness?

Wikipedia states the following: Social connectedness is the measure of how people come together and interact. At an individual level, social connectedness involves the quality and number of connections one has with other people in a social circle of family, friends, and acquaintances. Going beyond these individual-level concepts, it involves relationships beyond one’s social circles and even to other communities. This connectedness, one of several components of community cohesion, provides benefits to both individuals and society.

What is the definition of resilience? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website states the following: Resilience is the ability to adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful conditions. While many things contribute to resilience, studies show that caring and supportive relationships can help enhance resilience.

Factors associated with resilience include, but are not limited to: the ability to make and implement realistic plans, a positive and confident outlook; and the ability to communicate and solve problems.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website reads: “It takes a sustained relationship to help a child, youth or young adult to develop the social skills that can enhance resilience, but even small gestures can help such as offering a word of encouragement or praise to a child, youth or young adult.”

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Alice Englin is the project coordinator for Freeborn County Partners in Prevention.