By Latifah Hassan 

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is Thursday, May 9. It’s a day to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health, and make sure people know that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth.

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“Mental health” doesn’t mean that something is wrong with a child. Instead, it refers to aspects of their growth and development that aren’t physical – for example, developing feelings and emotions; learning to cope with tough situations; and interacting with others in a positive way.

It’s important that parents, family members, childcare providers, and pediatricians all work together to make sure that a child’s mental health and emotional development is on track – just like their physical health.

Next time you see your child’s physician, take a moment to ask them about mental health and emotional development. In the meantime, take a look at the resources we have on our website.

The Boston Public Health Commission is part of a partnership to raise awareness about children’s mental health, called the Massachusetts Early Childhood Mental Health Partnership. Other members are the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. This group strives to build awareness of the importance of early childhood mental health through promotion, prevention, and intervention strategies. Learn more.

During the month of May, we are asking all adults to make a small gesture to help a child develop healthy social and emotional skills.

Latifah Hassan is the director of C/L Competency and Social Marketing in our Early Childhood Mental Health program.