This is an excerpt of the message on the About Our Kids site from Dr. Koplewicz. I am very happy to hear this. It is the beginning of a real dialogue between those with disabilities, those who care about those with disabilities and the professionals who wish to help.
"When we launched our 'Ransom Notes' public awareness campaign two weeks ago, our goal was to call attention to the millions of children with untreated psychiatric and learning disorders. We wanted a campaign that would grab people’s attention, break through the clutter, and serve as a wake up call to what we believe is America’s last silent public health crisis. We felt something dramatic was needed to call attention to the dire outlook for children with untreated disorders: higher risk for academic failure, school dropout, substance abuse, suicide, unemployment, and imprisonment.
The campaign succeeded in getting people’s attention and sparking dialogue, but much of the debate centered on the ads instead of the issues. We’ve received thousands of calls and letters from parents, mental health professionals, educators, advocates, and concerned third parties, all of whom are passionate about helping children. While many people praised the campaign and urged us to stay the course, others were troubled by it.
Though we meant well, we've come to realize that we unintentionally hurt and offended some people. We’ve read all the emails, both pro and con, listened to phone calls, and have spoken with many parents who are working day and night to get their children the help they..."
One of the hardest things about bringing awareness to mental health issues in children to the public is how to portray them in a positive light? Often the symptoms and the challenges the children have can be fodder for sensationalism. So this brings the question:
How do you help children without negatively portraying them?