Kids and Mental Health
What We Used to Think About Children and Mental Health
Did you know that we used to think children could not have depression? Or that about 8 percent of adolescents, age 13-18, have some type of anxiety disorder? Furthermore, did you know that approximately 11 percent of adolescents have a depressive disorder by the age of 18? This information comes from the National Institute of Mental Health’s website, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications.
This information can be unsettling. No one wants to think of their child as having anxiety or depression, or any health issue for that matter. But knowing that kids can and do suffer with depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders can also help us provide better for our kids by being aware of the symptoms.
Symptoms of Childhood Mental Health
So what should we be looking for? According to www.webmd/mental-health, symptoms can vary from child to child, but the website provides a good list of things that parents, teachers, and healthcare providers take notice of:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Inability to cope with daily activities
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Excessive complaints of physical ailments
- Defying authority, skipping school or damaging property
- Intense fear of gaining weight
- Long-lasting negative moods
- Frequent outbursts
- Changes in school performance
- Loss of interest in friends or activities
- Excessive worrying
- Persistent nightmares or night terrors
- Frequent temper tantrums
- Hearing voices or seeing things that are not there
What Are the Next Steps in Treating Childhood Mental Health?
If you have concerns regarding your child as well as any of these above-mentioned symptoms, I encourage you to talk with your child’s healthcare provider. If a diagnosis of a mental health disorder is made, medication and therapy may be indicated.
While it’s never easy to have a child with health issues, there is help. At CHI Health, there are many qualified providers who specialize in children’s health issues not to mention those who work in mental health. Feel free to contact us at (402) 717-4673 for more information or to find a healthcare provider.
Karen Williams, LIMHP is a Mental Health provider at CHI Health.