NEWS PROVIDED BY #AmericanFoundationforSuicidePrevention
NEW YORK, May 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In honor of #MayisNationalMentalHealthAwarenessMonth, the #AmericanFoundationforSuicidePrevention (AFSP) is launching nationwide interactive Read-Along programs based on the children’s book, Gizmo’s Pawesome Guide to #MentalHealth© in partnership with the Connecticut Department of #MentalHealth and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and the United Way of CT/2-1-1 on behalf of the CT #Suicide Advisory Board (CTSAB) to promote positive mental health habits and trusted-adult connections for elementary-aged #children.
Local AFSP staff and volunteers will lead in-person or virtual Read-Alongs of the illustrated Gizmo’s Pawesome Guide to Mental Health©, which highlights a small dog, Gizmo, who shares a big message for #mentalhealth and hope. Gizmo guides the reader through the importance of #mentalhealth, how everyone has it, what you can do to take care of it, how to recognize when your #mentalhealth needs support, what you can do to help yourself first, and how to connect with trusted #adults when you need help from others.
“Gizmo gives #children and their trusted #adults a common language to talk about #mentalhealth, and offers a unique way for kids to learn how to talk about #mentalhealth with a trusted #adult. By establishing this open dialogue early in life, it helps to normalize #mentalhealth as part of overall health and wellbeing,” said Robert Gebbia, AFSP CEO. “Research shows that the presence of a caring, trusted #adult in a young person’s life can improve #mentalhealth outcomes.”
Gizmo offers guidance to #children on how to recognize and cope with sad, mad and worried feelings and related behaviors, and makes managing their #mentalhealth – and knowing how and when to reach out to a trusted #adult for further support – a simple, non-scary part of their everyday life.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
During the Read-Along program, #children are encouraged to take Gizmo’s Pawesome Pledge for #MentalHealth and complete their very own #MentalHealth Plan, which the book prepares them to complete with the trusted #adult who accompanies them to the Read-Along. The #child’s plan becomes a source of support when they feel mad, sad or worried. The trusted #adult participating with the #child in the Read-Along program also has the option to take Gizmo’s Pawesome Pledge for #MentalHealth, and complete the same plan. In this way the #child is further supported by their trusted #adult as they speak the same language in talking about #mentalhealth.
There are additional activities available on Gizmo’s website that may be included in the Read-Alongs, including word searches, coloring pages, puzzles, and activity pages. In addition, Gizmo’s Pawsome Guide to #MentalHealth©-Elementary Curriculum is now available for #schools that would like to integrate Gizmo’s lessons in the classroom following implementation and evaluation of the curriculum in 20 Connecticut school systems, 100 classrooms with over 3,000 #children. The two organizations plan to expand the partnership to #schools in the coming months through three chapter pilots in Connecticut, Kentucky and New Hampshire before making it available through all chapters nationwide.
Gizmo’s Guide was originally developed with federal Substance Abuse and #MentalHealth Services Administration (SAMSHA) state #youth #suicideprevention funding received by DMHAS. It is based on proven #mentalhealth practices, and it teaches elementary #children, and others, #mentalhealth life skills that can help them stay healthy and safe. AFSP, through its local chapters across the country, is working with the CTSAB to bring this program to a national audience.
“#Mentalhealth is just as important as physical health – it’s all a part of everyone’s overall health picture,” said DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon who was recently nominated by President Biden as the Assistant Secretary for the Substance Abuse and #MentalHealth Services Administration. “By reading this book to #children it makes us more mindful that, as #adults, we all need to be aware of children’s thoughts and feelings, and their ability to process them. #Children may not always know what to call what they’re feeling. Gizmo gives #children and their trusted #adults a shared language for having important conversations, and the CTSAB is so pleased to partner with the AFSP to make this resource broadly available to support them nationwide.”
To find a local AFSP Read-Along program, connect with your AFSP Chapter: https://afsp.org/find-a-local-chapter.
To learn more about Gizmo’s Pawesome Guide to #MentalHealth©, visit www.gizmo4mentalhealth.org.
The #AmericanFoundationforSuicidePrevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by #suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about #mentalhealth through education and community programs, develops #suicideprevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by #suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on #suicideprevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.