Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma.
Over the past few weeks, millions have been forced to endure the unthinkable as the result of the hurricanes that have recently hit Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. My prayers have been with those impacted and I know yours have been too. But thoughts and well wishes are not enough.
We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably. These brave survivors, however, are struggling to cope not only with the physical damage done to their towns and cities but with the mental and emotional toll of these events.
So the response to these disasters must encompass these communities’ mental and emotional needs as well as their physical wellbeing – and dedicate resources accordingly. This is vital to long term recovery for people of all ages but especially for youth who can be particularly vulnerable. We know that when a young person experiences trauma the effects can be devastating, potentially impacting their ability to function successfully in school and beyond and hindering their mental health for years to come.
That’s why, as part of my commitment to donate $1 million towards helping these communities recover, I’m supporting Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program. This amazing evidence-based program helps youth and their caregivers develop the resiliency they need to not just recover in the short term but to flourish for years to come.
Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills. Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
In recognition of World Mental Health Day, I’m inviting all of you to join me in supporting this transformational program. Click here to help Save the Children ensure that these young people have the skills and resources they need to thrive in the face of tragedy.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing more about how I plan to support efforts to help communities who have been impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria as well as the two earthquakes in Mexico and I hope you’ll join me. Together, we can help these beautiful, vibrant communities rebuild stronger and healthier.