New Campaign Focuses on, “Your Child’s Emotional Backpack”


New Campaign Focuses on, “Your Child’s Emotional Backpack”

Mental Health Awareness of Children 14 and Younger

Contact:           Traci Patterson
Director of Communications
                          713-520-3476 or   

Houston, TX (May 19, 2015) — Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by the time a child is 14 years old.  Despite having effective and available treatments for many children, there are often long delays between the onset of their symptoms and when they actually get help. A few common reasons for a child going without treatment include misunderstanding or ignoring the symptoms of illness, not knowing who can help, and the stigma of their child having a mental illness. This leads to a child challenged with an illness and symptoms that are more severe and harder to treat.  It can even lead to them having more than one mental health concern.

Studies show that one in five children in the United States is living with a diagnosable mental health disorder, yet less than a quarter of those affected children actually receive needed treatment.

Mental Health America of Greater Houston’s, new children’s mental health public awareness campaign, “Your Child’s Emotional Backpack,” brings greater focus to some of the mental, emotional and behavioral health needs of children age 14 and younger. It encourages parents and guardians to fill their child’s emotional backpack with resources, tools, and strategies to help keep them mentally healthy.  As the campaign develops, it will also offer children 14 and younger simple ways to empower themselves to become aware of their own mental health—helping them to learn and identify signs of trouble, knowing where they can go on their own to ask questions and to find help. 

“Every child deserves to have mental health and when there is a mental illness they deserve access to treatment, resources, support and assurance that they are not being judged, ridiculed, or penalized.  This is the only way they can get the help they need,” said Susan Fordice, president and CEO of Mental Health America of Greater Houston.  “Mental health is a wellness issue. Let’s work together to create a generation of children and parents who are fearless when talking about and taking care of a mental health concern.”

The PSAs which are in English and Spanish, are scheduled to air on radio, TV and social media beginning in May for Mental Health Month, and more specifically, Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, May 3-9.  Each features the experience of a local young person diagnosed with a mental health concern and how they got through or manage the symptoms of their illness.

To view the PSAs and to learn more about the “Your Child’s Emotional Backpack,” campaign visit Mental Health America of Greater Houston at




Mental Health America of Greater Houston, established in 1954 by philanthropist Ima Hogg, is the region’s oldest non-profit mental health education and advocacy organization focused on shaping the mental health of people and communities in the areas of children and education, integrated health care, chronic illnesses, women, veterans, aging and suicide prevention awareness.  We work to replace misperceptions and misunderstanding about mental illness; link people to mental health services; provide education and training for key sectors of the community; remove barriers to mental health care by facilitating change in systems and advocate for legislative solutions that address the vast unmet need for public mental health services.