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Who is the Indiana Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health?
The Indiana Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (IFFCMH) is the only statewide not-for-profit organization dedicated exclusively to the field of children’s mental health. We were founded in 1995 and were incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 in 1998. The organization was created by combining two statewide family organizations, the Indiana Family Support Network and the Family Action Network. IFFCMH was the recipient of the SAMHSA Statewide Family Network grant from 1998 to 2010 and from June 2013 to the present.
The mission of IFFCMH is to create and grow networks of support, education, intervention, leadership and advocacy, thereby empowering families to facilitate growth and development for their children who have emotional, behavioral or mental challenges while also creating and maintaining a positive environment for all family members.
The guiding principles of IFFCMH are:
Children and adolescents with a mental health needs are people first, and come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, with a variety of strengths and needs.
Family members must always be viewed as the experts regarding their child, or adolescent’s welfare since they have a 24 hour, seven day a week, lifelong responsibility and experience.
Families and professionals must respect the individuality, rights, and strengths of children and adolescents who have mental health needs.
Services provided for children and adolescents with mental health needs must emphasize identifying the strengths of the child and family.
Services must be affordable, accessible, available, and appropriate.
Families are a source of strength for their children.
Services to the child and family must be individualized to meet their unique needs.
Continuous training and collaboration between families and professionals allows barriers to be removed and allows for a better understanding of each other’s roles and experiences.
Children's Mental Health Disorders
About 1 in 5 American children suffer from a diagnosable mental illness during a given year. Nearly 5 million American children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental illness (one that significantly interferes with their day-to-day life).
Some of the major mental illnesses and behavioral disorders that affect children are:
Anxiety disorders - Children have fears that adults often don't understand, but when they persist or when they begin to interfere with a child's normal daily routine, he or she may have a diagnosable and treatable anxiety disorder.
Depression - Studies of children aged six to 12 have shown that as many as one in 10 suffer from the illness of depression. These children cannot escape their feelings of sadness for long periods of time.
Attention-Deficit Disorders (ADD) – This condition affects a child's ability to concentrate, to learn and to maintain a normal level of activity. Attention-deficit disorder affects from three to 10 percent of all children in America. Thought to be 10 times more common in boys than in girls, this disorder often develops before the age of seven but is most often diagnosed when the child is between ages eight and 10.
Bipolar - This illness involves persistent feelings of sadness and/or rapidly changing moods. Feelings of extreme well-being that is out of the ordinary or thoughts about suicide may be present.
Schizophrenia: This disorder involves distorted perceptions and thoughts. Children may have delusions and/or hallucinations and may hear voices or see things that are not there.
Remember, all mental illnesses and behavioral disorders are treatable. In general, the earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the less severe the disease or disorder becomes.
If you see symptoms that concern you contact your doctor.
Along with treatment of a diagnosed mental illness or behavioral disorder, it is important to gain knowledge about your child’s particular condition.
Stigma strikes those affected by mental illness in almost all areas of life. Work to eliminate stigma every chance you can by sharing the fact that all mental illnesses are no-fault diseases.
If you are a parent, friend or professional concerned about a child or teen who may show signs of a mental illness or serious behavior disorder and need support, call the Indiana Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health at 1-866-247-8457.
Looking for Information About Children's Mental Health?
IFFCMH has many resources available to help you. Visit our Publications page to see a list of flyers, booklets and reprints of news stories as well as manuals for families and support groups and reprints of our past newsletters. PDF files can be emailed to you at no cost as can limited numbers of hard copies. Larger numbers of hard copies can be sent to you for the cost of printing and postage. Please call us at 1-866-247-8457 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Would You Like to Serve on Our Board of Directors?
IFFCMH is seeking new members for its board of directors. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Indiana, and a primary caregiver (parent, grandparent, guardian, etc) of a child up to age 18 diagnosed with a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder, or of a young adult up to age 25 receiving transition services from youth to adult.
For more information, phone Brenda Hamilton at 1-866-247-8457 or email us at email@example.com