Half of all mental health issues begin at age 14, and 75% by age 24. If misidentified or undiagnosed, such conditions can become nearly insurmountable challenges to daily living. As a parent, if you’re aware of a critical physical illness, you ensure that your child receives proper treatment. What if you’re unaware? Most of us are unfamiliar with the very visible signs of emotional distress, but a growing movement is encouraging us to care for our children’s mental health as seriously as we care for their physical health.
On Wednesday, February 22, beginning at 6:30 p.m., a former Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, John Broderick, will speak to parents and community members in the high school’s performing arts center about an organization he co-chairs titled Change Direction New Hampshire. This is part of a national effort to support the health and well-being of our children and young adults and the mental health of everyone. Co-sponsored by Stand Up Salem, and the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce, our event is aimed to raise awareness, remove harmful stigmas and strengthen community health.
Most of us are afraid to discuss mental health because we know so little about it. However, when our children’s well-being is at risk we don’t let ignorance stand in the way. Change Direction New Hampshire focuses on the five warning signs of emotional distress. It is an effort to educate all of us and to “legitimize in the same way we would look for signs of arthritis, heart attack, or stroke,” according to Dr. Bill Gunn, Director of Primary Care Behavioral Health at Dartmouth Family Medicine.
Chief Justice Broderick has a compelling personal story that is certain to capture your interest. You will find his story deeply meaningful and informative. You will leave the presentation knowing about the five signs of emotional distress and how you as a parent can identify them.
We often say, “If I only knew”, but after an unfortunate or even tragic outcome. This is an opportunity to hear a compelling informational story that will lift your capability as a parent, regardless of your child’s age or grade. Knowledge is power and helps you take action.
Please plan to join us on Wednesday, February 22, beginning at 6:30 p.m., in the Seifert Performing Arts Center to hear from former Chief Justice Broderick. You will leave after the hour feeling much better about your knowledge and understanding of this critical issue and your capacity to help your child or other loved ones with emotional distress they may be feeling now or may someday experience.
Michael W. Delahanty, Ed.D.
Former Chief Justice,
NH Supreme Court