Heal the Children Month – May 2023

Heal the Children Month is annually observed in May. The month aims to create awareness about children across the globe who have gone through or are undergoing serious medical or psychological issues and abuse.

History of Heal the Children Month

Wounds can come in different forms. While illnesses and diseases affecting children have always been a priority for medical experts and pediatricians, the stigma around mental health hasn’t been dealt with, primarily because of the taboo around discussing child abuse.

Child abuse is an issue that has been continuing unabated and unresolved for centuries. Children were considered the property of their fathers centuries ago. So, they were often emotionally and physically abused by their parents. In fact, villagers often saw young boys or girls strapped across their backs by their fathers, and nobody said anything because “it was none of their business.”

However, by the early 1870s, the attention of the U.S. public had been caught by the news of an eight-year-old girl named Mary Ellen Wilson, who suffered daily beatings at her foster home. Unfortunately, no law covered child abuse. As a result, her lawyers at that time sought help from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (A.S.P.C.A.) instead, making the citizens of New York realize that child protection should be a priority. The realization caused them to form the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in 1874.

By 1962, the American Medical Association had found that child abuse significantly contributed to a child’s declining mental health and was medically diagnosable, leading to a reassessment of American child protection laws. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act federal law was passed 12 years later.

Today, several non-profit organizations are dedicated to protecting and safeguarding children. Some focus on medical treatment for diseases, while others on therapy and counseling. Everyone’s goal is to heal children from any form of illness, whether physical, emotional, or mental.

Heal the Children Month timeline

1870
A Case of Abuse

Mary Ellen Wilson’s daily beatings at her foster home catch national attention.

1874
Elbridge Gerry Creates the N.Y.S.P.C.C.

Gerry creates the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (N.Y.S.P.C.C.).

1962
Child Abuse is Medically Diagnosable

The American Medical Association concludes that abuse affects a child’s health and well-being.

1974
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

The U.S. passes the law to prevent child abuse and treat children with physical or mental illnesses.

Heal the Children Month FAQs

Who do I call if I witness child abuse?

You may contact National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.

Are young boys more prone to child abuse than young girls?

Boys and girls have similar abuse rates at 48% and 51%, respectively.

What should I do if my child is sick?

Contact your pediatrician immediately and request medical assistance.

How to Observe Heal the Children Month

  1. Volunteer

    There are several non-profit organizations you can volunteer at during Heal the Children Month. Some examples are groups like Healing the Children and National Children’s Alliance, which aim to assist children with their medical needs, counseling, and therapy.

  2. Donate to charity

    Heal the Children Month aims to provide children with access to healthcare. You could donate to any child-specific charity organization to show your support.

  3. Help organize activities for children

    There’s nothing better than seeing children have the time of their lives. So, helping organize child-friendly activities in foster homes is one of the best things you can do to help them smile. Contact your friends, go to the nearest foster home in your area, and come up with an event full of games and food-sharing for children to enjoy.

5 Facts About Child-specific Medical Conditions

  1. The most common illness in children

    The most common illness that children usually get once in their lives is an ear infection.

  2. Psychological effects from abuse last a lifetime

    A study indicates that 59.2% of abused children carry psychological violence throughout adulthood.

  3. Millions of children are maltreated

    According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 300 million children are maltreated daily.

  4. Neglect

    The most common form of child abuse is neglect.

  5. Most abusers are family members

    According to a study, 76% of abusers are either the parents or family members of the child.

Why Heal the Children Month is Important

  1. It shows our love for children

    Children are the future. If we want a better world tomorrow, we must protect our future generation today. The smallest act of kindness can affect a child’s life and turn it around for the better.

  2. It doesn’t tolerate abusers

    It is essential to call out abusers and inform them that assault is a crime. Heal the Children Month is dedicated to eradicating the normalization of violent parenting.

  3. It removes the stigma around mental health

    The most common reason children don’t seek counseling for mental health issues is fear of judgment. Heal the Children Month eradicates that stigma and stresses that mental illness deserves the same attention as physical diseases.

Heal the Children Month dates

YearDateDay
2023May 1Monday
2024May 1Wednesday
2025May 1Thursday
2026May 1Friday
2027May 1Saturday
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