COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and several organizations are using their resources to raise awareness for those who struggle with mental health.

On Our Sleeves, hitting its fifth anniversary, is using their platform to open up conversations with families and their children about mental health.

“I think we often think about mental health and we think of adults,” said Dr. Ariana Hoet, clinical director with On Our Sleeves. “But we know that half of lifetime mental illness starts by the age of 14, so it’s really important we have conversations about children’s mental health.”

According to the CDC, 1 in 5 children experience a mental health disorder. With the start of its formation in 2018, On Our Sleeves had the goal of bringing awareness to children’s mental health and to help kids who needed resources. Since the launch, the program has seen a change in kids and their mental health.

“Even before the pandemic, we were already seeing alarming trends in children’s mental health and the pandemic exacerbated those things,” said Hoet. “I think some of the things that have changed is that there’s more awareness to children’s mental health, people are aware that kids do have emotions and can have a hard time. I think parents, teachers and adults are seeking out answers of how to support children and how to talk about mental health.”

Through the years, On Our Sleeves has evolved by focusing not only on helping those who face challenges, but bringing awareness before a mental health concern shows up in a child.

“We really want to think about those habits, behaviors, relationships that we want to build in children that help protect them and help promote their mental wellness,” said Hoet. “Just like how we promote their healthy eating and exercise for their physical health, we want to do the same thing for their mental health.”

There are free resources families can take advantage of through On Our Sleeves that discusses over 500 different topics related to children’s mental health. For more information, click here.

“My hope for today, World Mental Health Day and every day, is that we realize mental health is a daily thing and that we should be thinking about especially in our children,” said Hoet. “We don’t just wait until we’re worried, but we’re talking about it from the day they’re born.”

To watch the full interview with Dr. Hoet, you can find it in the video player below.