May is Children’s Mental Health Month

Positive mental health is so important to a child’s healthy development

Caring for Every Keiki’s
Mental Health

Mental health disorders are some of the most common health issues of childhood. One out of every five children and youth has a diagnosable mental health need. Unfortunately, however, not every keiki who has a mental health need receives treatment and/or services. This could be due to a lack of awareness and not knowing what services are available. It could be because families have a hard time getting services (for a lot of reasons). Or it could be because some people may feel shame about receiving mental health care. 

The Campaign

The annual Keiki Mental Health Matters campaign is a series of statewide events and efforts to help break down some of these barriers. It provides information about community mental health services and resources for the whole ‘ohana, while encouraging families to help break down stigma in our community and start talking story about mental health. Together, we are stronger than stigma.

This year’s Keiki Mental Health Matters theme is Suicide Prevention: Strategies That Work, and national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grantee communities, like Hawaii, will focus on the impact that suicide has on children, youth, young adults, families and communities.

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016. In Hawaii, nearly 180 people die every year because of suicide, and the rate of suicide went up about 18% from 1999 to 2016. However, even with the high number of our family members, friends and neighbors dying by suicide in our state, we don’t often talk about it—and that needs to change.

When we look at Hawaii’s children/youth and suicide, the numbers are tough to come to terms with as well. About 10% of high school students reported having attempted suicide in the past year in a 2017 CDC survey done in Hawaii schools. Another 6% said they had seriously contemplated it (16% of those surveyed).

The Campaign

Is your family, or someone you know, facing difficult times and in need of crisis support?

The Crisis Line of Hawaii provides a team of trained and experienced professionals to help individuals in times of a mental health crisis. The Crisis Line of Hawaii is here to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On Oahu, call 832-3100. On the neighbor islands, call toll-free at 1-800-753-6879.

If you’d rather text, text ALOHA to 741741. We have a partnership with Crisis Text Line, a national organization that connects texters with a crisis counselor, a real-life human being who is trained to bring people from a hot moment to a cool calm.

If you are experiencing an emergency or believe you are a danger to yourself and/or others, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room for immediate assistance.


The Keiki Mental Health Matters campaign is a collaboration of the Hawaii Department of Health’s Child & Adolescent Mental Health Division (CAMHD), other child-serving state agencies, and community-based organizations across the state that we call our Community Champions.

The campaign goal is to raise awareness of the importance of children’s mental health and mental health services. Each year, we recognize the month of May as Children’s Mental Health Month with events all over the islands.

Our primary event sponsors this year are the Hawaii Department of Health’s Child & Adolescent Mental Health Division (CAMHD), the Hawaii Department of Education and Hawai’i Women in Filmmaking.

Event Sponsors

Get Involved

Become a Volunteer Crisis Counselor!

Crisis Text Line, in partnership with the Hawaii Child & Adolescent Mental Health Division and Adult Mental Health Division, is urgently looking for more Hawaii-based volunteer crisis counselors who can serve texters of all ages here in the islands, from youth to adults, as well as texters in the continental U.S. who need support during the middle of night (in the evening hours for us in Hawaii).

Resources & Sponsors

You’ve probably heard that mental health is just as important to your child’s health and development as their physical health. But it’s easy to know when your child needs help getting over the flu, right? Or when she has a broken arm, it’s simple to know where they are hurting.

However, mental and emotional health problems can be tough to figure out. How do you know when to get help? The hard part is knowing the kinds of behaviors that are typical for your child’s stage of development—and if your child has veered from the norm too much. You may need support to help them get back on track. And that’s OK!

Keiki Mental Health Matters sponsors and partners are here to help. Hawaii Department of Health’s Child & Adolescent Mental Health Division provides mental health services in all communities across the islands. In addition, below are links to other organizations offering services and resources we recommend both here in the islands and nationally. Click on each logo to learn more.

Our Sponsors & Partners

Local Resources

National Resources

Spread the Word

Help spread the word about keiki mental health by sharing on social media!


For more information about internships, special academic projects and other opportunities with our local Hawaii sponsors, please contact us.

Contact Us

Program Improvement & Communications Office, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Division, Hawaii Department of Health

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 808-733-9346

© Copyright 2021, Hawaii State Department of Health.

All rights reserved.