NARA, NW: 2012 National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day "Warriors Against Trauma" Shield.
Warrior Shield Campaign Art by: Pearl Vanessa-Rose Scott, Fort Peck Sioux, age: 20.
NARA, NW Trauma Warrior Art by: Michael, Mechoopta Maidu, age: 12.
CONTACT: K. @Alane Golden
Com./S.M. Specialist, NARA, NW: Nak-Nu-Wit
503.224. 1044, extension 264
The Portland, Oregon Based Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Inc., NARA NW, Will Join More than 1,000 National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day Celebrations’ Nationwide.
PORTLAND, OR — On Wednesday, May 9th, 2012, NARA, NW will host a Family Day celebration at Concordia University (2811 NE Holman Portland 97211) from 3 – 7pm, joining more than 1,000 communities and 115 federal programs and national organizations across the country participating in events, youth demonstrations, and social networking campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day seeks to raise awareness about the importance of positive mental health from birth. This year, the Awareness Day national event will focus on young children from birth to 8 years old by emphasizing the need to build resilience in young children dealing with trauma.
For the past forty – two years, NARA, NW has provided culturally appropriate education, physical and mental health services and substance abuse treatment to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other vulnerable people in the greater Portland metro community. NARA’s unique wraparound child and family mental health services program, Nak Nu Wit, serves families, their young children and youth with mental health challenges, offering culturally-based services and supports needed to thrive at home, in school, and in the community. Research has shown when children as young as 18 months are exposed to traumatic life events, they can develop serious psychological problems later in life and have a greater risk for experiencing problems with substance abuse, depression and physical health. Integrating social-emotional and resilience-building skills into every environment can have a positive impact on a child's healthy development.
In conjunction with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board and Concordia University, NARA, NW will celebrate Awareness Day locally by hosting a Family Day with the culturally-rooted theme: "Warriors Against Trauma", highlighting the strengths & adventure-based youth and family activities, to Elder storytelling, traditional drumming, dancing and singing, the event offers something for everyone - blending rich history and traditions of the past with modern day tribal urban culture. Attendees will enjoy complimentary face-painting, food and drinks, arts, crafts, ceremony, storytelling with Ed Edmo and a special performance by Emcee One and an array of mental health materials and resources aimed at reducing stigma. The event will focus attention on the importance of providing comprehensive, community-based mental health supports and services to enhance resilience and nurture strength-based skills in young children from birth. In the NARA community, Elders, family relations, community members, spiritual helpers and friends are invited to help the family. Nak Nu Wit is a Sahaptin phrase describing the program’s philosophy and mission:
“Everything / All things are being taken care of for the people, the people are the project, our responsibility, our work.” It is in this spirit that NARA welcomes all to attend this free event.
NARA, NW holds sacred the culture and traditions’ passed down from our ancestors and believes that when we recognize our “Warrior Self”, we can exhibit strength, without sacrificing tenderness. It is precisely because our ancestors called upon their inner warriors to be a source of strength to draw upon in times of great need that we exist today. The “Warriors Against Trauma” campaign honors our ancestors and asks today’s youth to thoughtfully deploy their “Warrior Spirits” to manifest as clarity, focus, determination, courage, constancy and an unflappable zest for life.
“Trauma Warriors” understand a true warrior views roadblocks as evolutionary opportunities, and isn't afraid to pursue a purpose to its finish – in the face of hardship, adversity, or strife. There is more than enough room in the existence of the warrior for softness and benevolence, and the warrior’s willingness to stand up for their beliefs can aid greatly in the healing process. As our youth strive to incorporate these ideals with today’s fast-paced world, they broaden their realities to internalize mindfulness while overcoming life’s challenges with an unwavering intensity of spirit. Can we get a W.A.T., W.A.T.?
"’Awareness Day is an opportunity for us to join with communities across the country in celebrating the positive impact we have on the lives of young people when we’re able to integrate culturally relevant positive mental health into every environment,’ says Terry Ellis, Child and Family Services Clinical Manager. ‘When we focus on building resilience and coping skills in young children from birth, especially if they have experienced a traumatic event, we can help young children, youth, and their families thrive.’"
Data released on May 3, 2011, by SAMHSA indicates that an estimated 26% of American children will witness, or experience a traumatic event, before the age of 4 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 60% of American adults say they endured abuse, or other difficult family circumstances, during childhood. Research has shown exposure to traumatic events early in life can have many negative effects throughout childhood and adolescence, into adulthood. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study found a strong relationship between traumatic events experienced in childhood as reported in adulthood, and chronic physical illness such as heart disease, and mental health problems which includes depression.
The annual financial burden to society of childhood abuse and trauma is estimated to be $103 billion. NARA, NW is committed not only to treatment aimed at reducing this financial burden, but, strives to address historical trauma through culturally-based mental health services. Through NARA’s child and family mental health programs, our families and youth are treated by nationally recognized trauma experts who aim to decrease the prevalence of exposure to traumatic events among children and youth to eliminate intergenerational trauma, the problems trauma causes, and offer available treatments that can help children and youth recover through resilience. It is a great honor to act as liaisons, standing side-by-side with family and community members helping ensure the complete mental health and well being our youth so they may continue the traditions passed down from elders with strength, honor and dignity.
12 year old Mechoopta Maidu tribal member and Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day contributing artist reflects upon what a Warrior Against Trauma means to him, “I have very bad dreams that wake me up at night. With help from Amber, I learned to call my Warrior to make the bad things that happen to me when I sleep go away. He protects me by throwing a tomahawk at the bad things, making them disappear and helping me sleep better.” Michael, NARA Nak Nu Wit client.
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