By Judith Fischer Wollack, president of the Association of Accredited Child & Family Agencies
Children and families are struggling with their mental health now more than ever.
As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, anxiety and depression continue to be at high levels as regulations change, life events are cancelled, and unprecedented times carry on.
Non-profit, accredited child welfare agencies that make up our membership have seen an influx of children with mental health issues, including more and more struggling with suicidal thoughts.
The month of September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. We use this time to emphasize issues and resources, as well as to spread hope and love to those who have been affected by suicide. In Michigan, an individual dies by suicide every six hours, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. It is so important to destigmatize the issue of suicide and help connect people with resources that could help them or a loved one in a time of need.
Non-profit, accredited child welfare agencies like our Association of Accredited Child & Family Agency members offer a wide continuum of services to help with mental health. We know there’s pent-up demand for mental health services, and not getting children and teens help they need can have dire consequences.
Our member organizations offer specialized programs for mental health related issues, including suicidal thoughts and self-harm. We provide round-the-clock residential care and highly personalized treatment with licensed therapists and knowledgeable, caring staff.
We fight hard to provide these services to as many children and teens as possible because they are so vital to our state. We do so with 30 percent less funding than state-run child welfare agencies. Michigan should make fair funding a priority so we can continue to provide high quality services to children and families who need it.
For more information about the mental health services provides by our member organizations, visit our member pages.
Anyone who needs urgent help can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-273-TALK.