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Local organization helps teach mental-health acceptance

May is Mental Health Awareness Month
children's awareness month.jpg
Posted at 5:02 AM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 10:32:06-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas  — The Coastal Plains Community Center has educated people about the importance of mental health for the last 15 years, but now that has shifted to mental-health acceptance.

Children’s mental-health services director Linda Ramos-Perez said once the pandemic began, the numbers jumped significantly. 

 “One in five youth as early as age 5 experience mental-health symptoms,” she said. 

Coastal Plains Community Center reports an increase from 350 to 750 cases a month in the last four years. A lot has happened in the last last years, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine.

“She saw footage of the bombs hitting and things exploding,” said Andrea Holmgreen about her 5-year-old daughter

Holmgreen said she knows it’s important to have an open conversation with her child.

A survey from Nationwide Children’s “On Our Sleeves Program” shows most parents know it’s important to talk to children about mental health. However, more than half need help knowing how to start the conversation.

“The expert on a child is the parent," Ramos-Perez said. "So, recognizing, communication and patterns (is important).” 

This is why Coastal Plains Community Center has made it a goal to visit schools within the Coastal Bend — to show they care about mental health.

They also host a video series called "Read with a Cop" which touches on various themes. Wednesday's theme is stress.
 
The work doesn’t end there. All year long, the staff at Coastal Plains Community Center helps people, including Christian Hernandez, improve their mental state. 

Hernandez said he's been able to learn some helpful pointers.

“Build yourself up," he said. "Make sure you have a good day no matter what. If it’s going down and you’re having a bad day. Just think of all the positives.”
 
Coastal Plains Community Center has eight locations across the Coastal Bend. Right now, they’re working on building a clinic in Live Oak county.

If you or someone you know struggles with mental health call the Youth Empowerment Services Inquiry Line. That number is 1-800-831-6467. For immediate action call the 24/7 crisis hotline at 1-800-841-6467.

 To access services, call the mental-health clinic nearest you. You will be given an appointment for an assessment to be conducted by a diagnostic team.