Nearly 700,000 children are abused in the U.S annually, and about four out of five abusers are the victims’ parents, according to the National Children’s Alliance.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and St. Anthony is showing their support with a blue ribbon tree display on their campus. “Child Abuse Prevention Month is important to us because it effects our patients and our community. The rate of abuse is incredibly high in Oklahoma, so by participating in this project we hope to increase awareness and show our support,” said Julie Costilla, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, St. Anthony Behavioral Medicine.
In addition to the traditional blue ribbon wrapped around the tree, St. Anthony also incorporated artwork provided by some of their young patients. “The children traced their hands and decorated them. The hands represent their feelings and preventative messages about child abuse. This gave them a chance to be creative and to share their thoughts,” shared Costilla.
Child Abuse Prevention Month is recognized in April, but it’s a problem some children face year round. “We care for lots of children, teens, and even adult patients who have been abused. Child abuse has a lasting impact on a person, it can affect every aspect of their life.”
Recognition months such as Child Abuse Prevention Month, brings light to issues people struggle with every day. “Hopefully people will start to think about what they can do to help prevent child abuse,” said Costilla. “Whether we know it or not, we all know someone who has been abused, so really this affects us all.”
St. Anthony Behavioral Medicine offers a wide range of mental health services to assist those of all ages who may be struggling. If you or someone you know needs help, call 405-272-6216.