Child and Family Resource Fair is May 5


Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

By Sue Cody


Arden Bryce newsletterSuicide rates are soaring in the United States according to a study recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The New York Times reports, “Researchers also found an alarming increase among girls 10 to 14, whose suicide rate, while still very low, had tripled. The number of girls who killed themselves rose to 150 in 2014 from 50 in 1999.”


National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is May 5, and Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare (CBH) is sponsoring a Child and Family Resource Fair at Astoria Middle School, 1100 Klaskanine Ave. It will be held from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 5.


“We wanted to bring together resources in one place, so families wouldn’t feel so isolated,” said Arden Bryce, Child and Family Program supervisor for CBH. Many families don’t know what resources are available in Clatsop County, and this is an opportunity to find activities and support for different needs.


Organizations such as The Harbor, Head Start, youth groups, camps, VOCA (Victory Over Child Abuse) and many others have been invited. FACT, a family advocacy network for people with disabilities will be represented at the Fair. Bryce said organizers would like to have all supports available that will help children and their families thrive.


Some background


Troubling signs of Astoria Middle School students harming themselves or contemplating suicide led the school to partner with Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare for some classroom intervention and evening discussions with parents earlier in April.


The classroom discussions were productive Bryce said. The students were engaged and interested. When asked about unhealthy coping skills, they expected students to talk about overeating, drinking alcohol or smoking, she said. She was surprised kids mentioned cutting themselves and suicide.


Educators and health care professionals want to be proactive and offer preventative techniques to families and hope parents and students will join them on May 5.