AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin Public Health and Integral Care Wednesday announced a public awareness campaign aimed at getting parents and caregivers to help children and teens when it comes to mental health.

According to APH, there has been a national rise in depression, trauma and suicidality among youth, which resulted in a declaration of a national state of emergency in children’s mental health.

APH said those trends are mirrored in Austin and Travis County, which is why APH and Integral Care launched a public awareness campaign called “Ask, Listen, Talk, Repeat.” The campaign aims to help parents and caregivers start critical conversations with children and youth about mental health.

According to APH, suicide deaths among children and youth in the City of Austin rose by 65% in five years.  

Suicide was the underlying cause of death for 33 people aged 24 and younger in 2022.  

In that same year, children and youth in Travis County visited emergency departments a total of 40,254 times with a mental, behavioral or emotional issue. 

APH said studies have shown that 1 in 6 children in the United States experience a mental health disorder and that nearly 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses begin by the age of 14. 

I think one thing to remember when we talk to kids certainly about mental health is we don’t have all the answers. Just beginning to have a safe space for conversations is key and essential.”

Michele Pierson, Integral Care

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 988.