Updated: May 18
Mental well being is crucial at any time but especially during this isolating time of Covid 19. Vulnerable populations, such as children, must be safeguarded and protected, to prevent further decline in health. Statistics from 2016 point out that approximately 7.7 million people age 6-17 years of age, that’s 16.5 % of youth suffer from a mental disorder. https://www.nami.org/mhstats or https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html of those youths approximately 70.4% end up in the juvenile justice system. Just so parents are aware that mental illness is not something that parents need to look at as though they have failed their child. Children’s health both physical and mental is not always up to us. Yes, if we provide the best nutrition, and a stable environment this may give an advantage in the long run, however, there are so many other extrinsic and intrinsic factors that make up our health. Knowing what to look for when things are not the same as usual is key to healing.
Children can exhibit mental decline in ways that they are not able to articulate or talk about like most adults. Children behaviors are often tell-tale signs of something is going wrong. Some of these things could be a result of bullying or uncertainty in things happening in their life. Many young people are concerned about school and what will that look like going forward. They did not have an opportunity to end the school year or even graduate as expected. Their routines have been interrupted. They are hearing lots of negative and disheartening things on the radio and probably from the adults around them. How do children process such information? What are some of the behaviors that they may exhibit? The National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI has put together a list of things children may project that lets you know they may need further help dealing with their emotions and their mental health.
Changes children exhibit with mental health:
Changes in school performance
Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
Frequent disobedience or aggression
Frequent temper tantrums
Sudden bed wetting
Excessive crying or clinging
This is not a full list of things that may come up. The list is individual and tailored by the child’s circumstances and temperament. The real thing to note is anything that is a change from normal behavior or unusual needs to be addressed and sooner rather than later. One of the first things to do is having the child diagnosed by a credible practitioner. This could be something that will pass in time or something that will need to be dealt with long term. Treatment is usually individualized by the child, parent, and provider. Different treatment options consist of medication, social support, counseling, education, and/or a combination of these. Not all mental illness will be treated with medications, sometimes counseling or education will suffice. But the best results will lie in a professional trained in mental health and with the combined effort of both parent and child.
Your treatment team may consist of a Doctor, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatrist, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Psychologist, Counselor, Clinician, Therapist, Clinical Social Worker, Psychiatric Pharmacist, Certified Peer Specialist, Social Worker or Pastoral Counselors or a combination of these. Go directly to the link below to find out what each of these professional jobs consist of and how they will assist you on your journey to better and stable mental health. Remember, just like if we had a child that was diagnosed with diabetes or eczema, we would want to find help, we must also be as diligent about our child’s mental health. This gives the child the best tools to lead a happy and fully productive life. Although we do not treat youth below the age of 18, we are here to help parents find resources or begin treatment themselves if needed. We are here to help you if you are in need of assistance with your health.
Make an appointment at www.hhctelehealth.com
for further resources:
Call 911 for emergency. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- 1-800-273-8255