Exposure to violence has the potential to harm any child’s mental health. As is discussed in Healing the Invisible Wounds: Children’s Exposure to Violence, when they’ve been exposed to violence, it can be hard to tell if anything is wrong because exposure doesn’t leave physical signs such as cuts and bruises. In these cases, children can suffer from “invisible wounds” that affect them emotionally and psychologically.
Warning signs can range from nightmares and a change in eating habits to hyper or aggressive behavior and can depend on their age, how close they are to the violence and their relationship with the victim and the perpetrator of violence.
So today, Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, we want to continue to spread the word that there are numerous outside influences that can impact a child’s mental health and exposure to violence is definitely one of them.
Today we’re attending SAMHSA awareness day events in DC. Please follow us on Twitter throughout the day where we’ll have live coverage of the events.
In the meantime, here are some resources on exposure to violence/trauma and children’s mental health.
Healing the Invisible Wounds: Children’s Exposure to Violence
Safe Start Center’s informational booklet on exposure to violence for families and caregivers.
National Institute of Mental Health: Children’s Mental Health Awareness
A plethora of publications, studies, videos, etc. on children’s mental health.
Child Mind Institute: Speak Up for Kids
Speak Up For Kids encourages local mental health professionals to host talks in their communities about children’s mental health. Here you can find information for your community and virtual talks through the month.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Early Childhood Materials – Trauma Resources
This site lists fact sheets, reports and PSAs related to children and trauma. Includes resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and Zero to Three.
American Psychological Association
The organization has many resources for all related to children’s mental health