Since 2005, the first week of May has been recognized as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. I usually use that occasion to write about the importance of understanding mental health challenges in children and adolescents, and the critical importance of making sure children receive the mental health treatment they need.

Certainly, I am always glad Children’s Mental Awareness Health Week helps raise awareness of how common mental health challenges are among children — in fact, sponsoring organization the National Federation of Families this year is changing the name to Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week. But children’s mental health should be a priority every day — especially as the pandemic has fueled what is increasingly recognized as a mental health emergency among our youth.

Melanie Dallas is a licensed professional counselor and CEO of Highland Rivers Health, which provides treatment and recovery services for individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities in the 12-county region of Northwest Georgia.

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