Using the power of entertainment to help end child poverty and hunger, the Red Nose Day partnership of Walgreens and Comic Relief raised awareness and money for kids in the United States and around the world to support projects that ensure kids are safe, healthy, and educated. Locally, Gibson Area Hospital’s Behavioral Wellness Center and Geriatric Behavioral Services celebrated the May 26thInternational Red Nose Day with a food drive for the Gibson Area Food Pantry to address hunger and basic human needs at a local level.
While the Red Nose Day campaign lightens the heavy topics through the use of comedy and clown noses, the Behavioral Wellness team knows that the targeted issues are not laughing matters, and they hope their participation in Red Nose Day draws attention to mental illness and its link to poverty and hunger. The National Center for Children in Poverty reports that 44% of the children in the United States live in low income and 21% of children live in poverty. Given the economic crisis in the U.S., this number is likely to climb, likewise impacting the mental health of America.
According to the American Psychological Association, children living in poverty are at greater risk of behavioral and emotional problems, such as depression, anxiety, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and conduct disorders. Poverty is also linked to housing problems, violence, poor performance in school, abuse, inadequate child care, and lack of access to health care. Children living in poverty are also at an increased risk of participating in violent behaviors which places them at greater risk of injury, mortality, and entry into the juvenile justice system.
Wearing their red noses proudly, the Behavioral Wellness Center and Geriatric Behavioral Services staff conducted their food drive on Thursday, May 26th and Friday, May 27th, with all donated items benefitting the Gibson Area Food Pantry to help reduce the food insecurity of local residents and support their physical and mental health.
Contributed by Vicki Angstmann, MAC, GAH Geriatric Behavioral Services