Canopy Children’s Solutions (Canopy), Mississippi’s largest nonprofit provider of behavioral health, educational and social service solutions, will shine a spotlight on the importance of children's mental wellness to promote Children's Mental Health Awareness Month. Each May, this nationwide campaign seeks to reduce stigmas and encourage necessary conversations so children struggling with any type of behavioral or mental health challenge can find connections, build community, and receive the help they need to cope and heal.
Canopy offers support to children with behavioral and mental health disorders and their families through behavioral health solutions. With three outpatient Behavioral Health Clinics (Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Jackson), school-based day treatment, statewide in-home care, intensive psychiatric treatment, and two CARES Schools (Hattiesburg, Jackson) for children with learning and behavioral challenges, Canopy provides a continuum of care to children grappling with their mental health at any level of intensity.
“Children want to talk about it. They want to talk about their sadness, their depression and anxiety, but they may be scared and not know how,” says Shea Hutchins, LSCW, Canopy’s Chief Solutions Officer. “If they don’t know how to talk about their feelings and emotions, that’s when you see the behaviors. Kids that are acting out are not ‘bad kids.’ They just don’t know how to communicate and deal with the big feelings they have on the inside.”
It is more important than ever to prioritize children's mental wellness. With suicide listed as the second leading cause of death for children and adolescents, along with an increase in diagnoses of mental illness since the pandemic, families need to know that treatment is available to help their children overcome challenges and thrive.
“We really work around hope. We believe that our future can be better than today, and we have the power to make it so. We do that through goals, pathways and willpower,” Hutchins continues. “We need to talk about the fact that it’s okay to not be okay, but we need to make a plan to get better. And if we don’t know how to make that plan, it’s okay to reach out for help. There are people who can help. Canopy can help.”
For more information on Canopy’s behavioral health solutions, visit mycanopy.org.