The Behavioral Health Division of the Republic of Palau Ministry of Health (MOH) hosted the annual Children’s

Mental Health Awareness Day Carnival on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at the Airai Side of the Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge (KB Bridge).

Fourth grade students from different elementary schools in Palau participated in various activities that promoted healthy lifestyle choices and mental health awareness.

The carnival focused on health topics such as patience and character-building, stress management and tolerance, attention and focus, art promoting social development, and personal hygiene and sanitation.

Carnival activities included Fishing for Peace, Hula Hoop Dancing, Bowling, Hopper’s Obstacle Course, “Dear Future Me” for Self-Talk, “Finding Help/Hope” for Self-Support, Photo Booths, Leis of Recognition, Balloon Blow for Anxiety & Stress, and Face Paint/Art.  Other booths featured health education sessions focusing on drug-free lifestyles, spiritual health, and the Share-the-Air (anti-smoking) Campaign.

Participating schools included Angaur Elementary School, Airai Elementary School, Aimeliik Elementary School,

Kayangel Elementary School, George B. Harris Elementary School, Maris Stella Elementary School, Koror Elementary

School, Meyuns Elementary School, Ngeremlengui Elementary School, Ibobang Elementary School, Ngaraard Elementary School, Ngardmau Elementary School, Ngarchelong Elementary School, Ngiwal Elementary School, Melekeok Elementary School, Ngchesar Elementary School, and Peleliu Elementary School.

The theme for the 2018 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Carnival was “De Kaukledem e Dekaingeseu el

Melisiich a Omeletkir a Rengelked sel Ngar Ngii a Meringel ra Udesuir” or “Partnering for Help and Hope Following Trauma.”  This year’s theme promoted the importance of an integrated health approach to supporting children, youth, and young adults with serious emotional disturbance who have experienced trauma through system change and enhancement in order to care for every child so that they can succeed.

Child traumatic stress occurs when a child or adolescent is exposed to events that are emotionally overwhelming such physical abuse, sexual abuse, natural disasters, community violence or terrorism, sudden or violent loss of a loved one, serious accidents, or life-threatening illnesses.  A child may not know how to properly cope with the traumatic event and may develop traumatic stress due to the situation.

Traumatic stress can cause children to experience emotional and behavioral problems such as having difficulties with attention, academic failure, and anxiety.  However, steps can be taken to assist children who have been exposed to traumatic events and ensure that they cope with the emotional distresses with everyone in the community providing support.