“We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is May 3-9
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week: Erasing the Stigma and Embracing the Future brings attention to the difficult and painful symptoms of mental illness in younger Americans, and reduces the stigma associated with mental illnesses.
“This week and throughout the year, we must ensure that our children’s mental health needs do not go unrecognized,” says Jennifer Kugler, LPC, ACS, Senior Program Director, Child Behavioral Health Services. “By addressing mental illness in its early stages, we can help children lead fulfilling lives both now and in the future.”
Mental illness in children can be hard for parents to identify. As a result, many children who could benefit from treatment don't get the help they need. Some of the common mental health disorders in children include anxiety, ADD and ADHD, autism, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Here are 11 warning signs to look for in your child:
- Persistent sadness — two or more weeks
- Withdrawing from or avoiding social interactions
- Hurting oneself or talking about hurting oneself
- Talking about death or suicide
- Outbursts or extreme irritability
- Changes in eating habits
- Loss of weight
- Difficulty sleeping
- Frequent headaches or stomachaches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in academic performance
If you think your child may be struggling, it’s important to seek help from a professional. An evaluation will include medical exam and history, family medical history, and academic history. “A doctor, counselor or social worker can help diagnose the condition and develop a treatment plan,” adds Kugler. “Parents or caregiver participation in therapy is encouraged and following recommendations at home is also reinforced.”
Clinicians in our Counseling & Wellness Centers can help your child or teen work towards mental wellness. Call our main number at 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632) for more information about our outpatient and telehealth services.
National Institute of Mental Health