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Governor Cox Declares May 20 Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

The Children's Center

Governor Spencer Cox declared May 20  Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. Recent research suggests that between 10 to 20% of Utah's 458,000 children 0 to 8 years old will experience emotional trauma and mental health problems.

The Salt Lake City-based Children's Center released the study done by the University of Utah's Kem C. Gardner Institute. President and CEO of the Children's Center Rebecca Dutson said her organization sees about 1800 children and families in a typical year.

"We just released a study that we commissioned from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. That was released in December of 2020. It is the state's first comprehensive study on early childhood mental health in Utah."

Dutson said early intervention brings about better outcomes, and the Governor's proclamation shines a light on a costly problem of untreated trauma in young children.

"Oh, we see children for a variety of reasons here at The Children's Center, and of course we work together with the child and their family and caregivers and very young children can exhibit some of the same mental health concerns that manifest themselves in youth and adults so some children might experience anxiety they might experience depression and other mental health concerns."

Dutson said every child who comes to the Children's Center would receive an individualized evaluation and treatment plan. Clinicians at the Center provide a high level of care and follow-through. Help is given to every child and family regardless of ability to pay.

"A very individualized treatment plan is developed and tailored to that child's needs. So, our clinical team, which consists of, you know, mental health counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists, are developing a very tailored treatment plan. And that includes evidence-based treatments, and all of our work here is trauma-informed."

You can find a link to the Kem C.Gardner Early Childhood Mental Health study and a link to the Children's Center on KPCW.org.

KPCW news reports on issues affecting children aged zero through three years old is brought to you by the Early Childhood fund at the Park City Community Foundation. For more information, Go to earlychildhoodalliance.net.


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