VOLUNTEERISM:
MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH WITH MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS AND THEIR FAMILIES

Throughout May, Magellan and Children’s Mental Health Network will raise awareness
about several issues pertaining to mental health and youth

AVON, Conn. – May 26, 2013 - Over the past two decades there is a growing body of research that indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social benefits. This research has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.

Volunteer activities can strengthen the social ties that protect individuals from isolation during difficult times, while the experience of helping others leads to a sense of greater self-worth and trust. In fact, studies show those who give support through volunteering experience greater health benefits than those who receive support through these activities.1

Severe mental health conditions causing functional impairment affects 1 in 10 children and teens.2 In a nationally representative survey of 12- to 17-year-old youths and their trauma experiences, 39 percent reported witnessing violence, 17 percent reported physical assault, and 8 percent reported a lifetime prevalence of sexual assault.3,4  These children, youth and families are our next door neighbors, the family next to you at church, or the family behind you in the grocery line.

As resources and funding continues to decrease, it is more important than ever for concerned, caring, compassionate citizens to step up to the plate and ‘Invest in America’s Youth’ by volunteering in their communities. Two studies found that the volunteering threshold is about 100 hours per year, or about two hours a week.[1] Several studies have also looked specifically at the effects of volunteering on those with chronic or serious illness. These studies have found that when these patients volunteer, they receive benefits beyond what can be achieved through medical care.

Volunteer activities can strengthen the social ties that protect individuals from isolation during difficult times, while the experience of helping others leads to a sense of greater self-worth and trust. In fact, studies show those who give support through volunteering experience greater health benefits than those who receive support through these activities[2]

Now it’s your turn to make a difference in the lives of children, youth and families. As part of Magellan’s Take Mental Health to Heart campaign, Magellan hopes you will take this opportunity to consider volunteering in some way to support children, youth and families suffering with mental health issues or assisting the organizations that serve them. It could be helping out in a school classroom to support a student to be successful in a general education classroom rather than a self-contained special education classroom. It might be mentoring an at risk youth whose parent is incarcerated. It might be contributing a couple hours each week answering phones at the Family Run Organization. Or volunteering to disseminate information promoting positive mental wellbeing to your co-workers. Whatever you decide, you are sure to share in the benefits of investing in America’s youth.

Pledge Your Support
On www.TakeMentalHealthToHeart.com, visitors can learn more about the 2013 campaign, access a depression screener; and discover a variety of useful resources and links. Visitors are also encouraged to leave a comment on the site’s “pledge wall” to share their thoughts and comments on the importance of investing in America’s youth. 

To learn more about how you can invest in America’s youth and take part in the 2013 Take Mental Health To Heart campaign, visit www.TakeMentalHealthToHeart.com.

About Children’s Mental Health Network:

The Children’s Mental Health Network is a national alliance between communities, practitioners, families, youth, agencies, advocacy organizations, and policy-makers who seek to share information, offer experience-based consultation and education, and advocate for stronger mental health services and supports for children and families. The Children's Mental Health Network provides the best, most accessible timely analysis of the children’s mental health landscape from an inclusive perspective founded upon social justice and social change through collective action.

About Magellan Health Services

Headquartered in Avon, Conn., Magellan Health Services Inc. is a leading specialty health care management organization with expertise in managing behavioral health, radiology and specialty pharmaceuticals, as well as pharmacy benefits programs. Magellan delivers innovative solutions to improve quality outcomes and optimize the cost of care for those we serve. As of December 31, 2012, Magellan's customers include health plans, employers and government agencies, serving approximately 33.8 million members in our behavioral health business, 17.2 million members in our radiology benefits management segment, and 8 million members in our medical pharmacy management product. In addition, the specialty pharmaceutical segment served 41 health plans and employers, and several pharmaceutical manufacturers and state Medicaid programs. The company's Medicaid Administration segment served 24 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.MagellanHealth.com.


[1]Blueprint for Change; Research on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Report of the
National Advisory Mental Health CouncilWorkgroup on Child and Adolescent Mental Health NIH
Publication No... 01‐4896, 2001 

[2]Kilpatrick DG, Acierno R. (2003). Mental health needs of crime victims: Epidemiology and outcomes. Journal of Traumatic Stress.16(2),119–132. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1023/A:1022891005388/abstract .

4Saunders BE. (2003). Understanding Children Exposed to Violence Toward an Integration of Overlapping Fields. National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center. J Interpers Violence. 18(4) 356-376. Retrieved from http://jiv.sagepub.com/content/18/4/356.short

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