Mental health issues are not exclusive to adults. One in five children and adolescents experience a mental disorder annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The pandemic exacerbated mental health disparities in mental health services, particularly among students with lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
Child and adolescent mental health is a significant part of overall health and substantially impacts development. Issues can manifest in several ways, including mood and anxiety disorders, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and more.
Spotting the Signs
It’s essential to be aware of the signs that indicate a child is experiencing mental health challenges. These signs include behavior, mood, sleep pattern, appetite, and academic performance changes. Children and adolescents may also be more irritable; have difficulty concentrating; experience physical symptoms such as stomach aches, headaches, and fatigue; or withdraw from social activities.
Creating a Supportive Environment
Creating a supportive environment for children and adolescents that encourages open communication, active listening, and empathy is crucial for their mental well-being. Encouraging children and adolescents to talk about their feelings and emotions can help them feel heard and validated.
Seeking Professional Help
If a child or adolescent exhibits persistent signs of mental health challenges, seeking professional help is essential. Mental health professionals can diagnose mental illnesses and provide appropriate treatment, including therapy, medication, or a combination.
Helping children and adolescents navigate mental health challenges is a collective responsibility. With open communication, emotional support, healthy habits, and professional assistance, we can guide our young ones through their mental health journey. Remember, it’s not about having all the answers but being there to help them find their way.
If you, or a child or adolescent you know, are experiencing a mental health crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
RADIAS Health provides person-centered integrated healthcare services to people experiencing mental illness, substance use, or co-occurring disorders. Compassionate, skilled health care and support staff deliver our behavioral health services. In addition, our care includes supplementary services such as case management, supportive housing, homeless services, residential services, outpatient DBT treatment, and more. If you or someone you know could benefit from our mission, contact us today or consider donating!