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By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution of Virginia in the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized:

Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

WHEREAS, mental well-being is a core component to ensuring children in Virginia reach their fullest potential; and

WHEREAS, our children are the Commonwealth’s future workforce, entrepreneurs, military personnel, civic leaders, and parents; and

WHEREAS, the health, safety, and education of all Virginians is important to the happiness, prosperity, and wellbeing of our Commonwealth’s families and communities, and it is important to recognize that mental health is a critical component of learning and general health for the over 2 million children living in the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, according to the Virginia Department of Education, nearly 20% of youth in grades 3 through 8 are chronically absent from school, and our ALL In VA plan is intended to address the impact of historic learning loss due to COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for youth ages 10-14, fourteen percent of all suicides occur among youth and young adults, and the rate of emergency department visits for suicide among girls increased over 200% from 2001 to 2019; and

WHEREAS, in Virginia, according to “Mental Health America,” in 2023, 19.6% of youth had at least one major depressive episode, 7% of youth had a substance use disorder in the last year, and 6 in 10 youth with depression do not receive care; and

WHEREAS, 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and one in six children between the ages of two and eight years have been diagnosed with a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder; and

WHEREAS, the growing awareness of the dangerous implication of social media, especially among teenage girls, including bullying, loneliness, and negative self-perception, demands not just protection, but also accountability; and

WHEREAS, trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and a lack of community awareness related to resources are compounding factors when it comes to our children’s mental health needs; and

WHEREAS, the need for comprehensive, coordinated mental health services for children, youth, and families places upon our community a critical responsibility; and

WHEREAS, our Right Help, Right Now initiative is intended to transform the behavioral health system in the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, our historic investment in mental health and substance use disorder treatment ensures that Virginians in crisis have someone to call, someone to respond, and somewhere to go; and

WHEREAS, youth are more likely to thrive as adults if they have one caring adult in their lives; and

WHEREAS, Virginians, along with agencies, families, communities, and organizations interested in meeting the mental health needs of children, are encouraged to unite to bring awareness to the fundamental necessity of a system of care for children and youth with mental health needs to support them where they live, learn, and play; and

WHEREAS, it is important that a day be set apart each year to focus on our children’s mental health and well-being;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Glenn Youngkin, do hereby recognize May 9, 2024, as CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS DAY in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.