As part of our series on National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 6-12) we’re posting interviews and information about children and mental health. Today, we’re posting an invitation from Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, president of The Child Mind Institute.

Dear Readers,

Though 15 million children in the United States have psychiatric and learning disorders, very few of them will be identified and get the help they need. Stigma, lack of awareness, and a deep anxiety about labels and diagnosis mean that many kids will miss out on life-changing treatments even if they actually make it to the office of a mental health professional.

The issue of childhood mental illness is too often a silent one, and the existence of these well-documented and researched disorders—depression, ADHD, Asperger’s—is even actively denied by some people.

“That’s not real” turns into “Boys will be boys” or “I am not depressed,” which too often becomes “I am just worthless.” That is why every year we take time to Speak Up for Kids—to let the world know that that silence and shame are not options.

So I invite you to stand with us this May, during National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 6-12, 2012), and be counted as we Speak Up for Kids.

Everyone should go to and add their name to this effort. Our goal is to turn the globe green—the color of children’s mental health.

Also as part of Speak Up for Kids, we’re asking mental health professionals to volunteer to give free talks at schools, libraries, and other community organizations around the country. We make participation easy with the Speak Up for Kids Toolkit to help professionals plan, promote and give the talk – including the PowerPoint presentation and talking points.

You can attend a talk during the week of May 6-12 here, which include:

•   When Bad Things Happen: Helping Kids Cope With Traumatic Events

•   Is It ADHD or Just Inattention?

•   Is It Depression or Teen Angst?

•   When to Worry About Your Child’s Worries

•   A Parent’s Guide to Bullying

•   Building Your Education Team

•   The Difficult Child: Dealing With Behavioral issues

•   Raising Children in the Digital Age

Before we can get every child with a psychiatric disorder the early diagnosis and intervention that we know are crucial to transforming lives, we need to provide families with support, education, and a robust voice.

We need to Speak Up for Kids—and I hope you will join the Child Mind Institute and all of our wonderful partners.

With my warmest regards,

Harold S. Koplewicz, MD

President, Child Mind Institute


Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D., is a leading child and adolescent psychiatrist and the president of the Child Mind Institute. For more information, go to, which offers a wealth of information on childhood psychiatric and learning disorders.