EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – This month of May we’re turning our attention to raising awareness and reducing stigma when it comes to mental health.

The Emergence Health Network is highlighting Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Day on Saturday, May 7th from 9 in the morning to 1 pm. 

Chief Executive Officer Kristi Daugherty of Emergence Health Network says mental health is very important and focusing on your mental well-being is as important as your physical health.

“If we really start talking about these signs and symptoms early on, recognizing them, we can get that child help early and they don’t have to go through the trauma of a crisis,” Daugherty said.  

While Daugherty recommends playing outdoors more often, she advises parents to keep a close eye on those spending too much time playing video games. She encourages parents to take more time speaking with their children. 

“It really is talking about mental clarity and focus and really taking care of that mental state because really your brain is the key part of your body that keeps you going, and sleep is important. Just as important as nutrition and so that’s part of your mental being as well,’ Daughtery said. 

Daugherty says if there is a change in behavior than what it normally is, that’s when a parent needs to converse with their child. Things to look out for in a child are not wanting to do the same activities, not doing well in school, hygiene, or lashing out attitude towards the parent. 

 If mental health is overlooked in a child, it can take years until they go into a crisis.

 “Same thing if you have a mental illness, so you know we need to be looking at mental illness as physical illness and * It’s important that we address the signs and symptoms. *And we wrap our arms around those folks and embrace that, as an illness and take care of those folks the same way we do, with cancer and you know high blood pressure if somebody has a heart attack. So I think that’s important with regards to acceptance,” Daugherty said. 

At Saturday’s event, resources will be available such as Emergency Health Network, NAMI El Paso, YWCA, and many others that focus on substance use treatment. Vendors and resources will be addressing children’s mental health crisis or their well-being. 

Families will have the chance to enjoy the zoo with activities such as animal education, an amphitheater with a magician, plus the theme event is mental health superheroes where children will have a chance to meet their favorite superheroes. Plus the first 150 children under 12 years old will get in for free.

The focus of the zoo event is not just on children’s mental health but also on the whole family’s mental health being. Emergence Health Network also has a crisis line for resources or referrals regarding mental health services in El Paso you can reach them 24/7 at (915) 779-1800. 

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