Nearly 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point during their life. A large majority by the young age of 14.
As Licensed Mental Health professionals, we are seeing the numbers of those diagnosed with a mental health condition or even seeing signs rise in our children, youth, adolescents, and teenagers, especially following the unprecedented events of Covid. The reality is: life is hard, it is challenging, and we are not meant to do it alone. We all need a support system. We need access to helpful resources and reliable professionals to navigate our mental health journeys.
There are numerous resources out there that can help to minimize the severity of a mental health condition(s), including that of individual and family/group counseling sessions. We must work hard to ensure that these resources are easily found, known and that we are supporting one another.
Together, we can help to break the stigma that follows Mental Health. Mental Health is just as important as our Physical Health. Just like experiencing a physical illness that might be more apparent or obvious, being able to identify and treat mental health conditions earlier on can prevent something more serious from developing.
Some of the more or less “common” mental health conditions or experiences warranting professional support:
Knowing the “warning signs” to watch for:
Feels very sad, hopeless, or irritable
Feels overly anxious or worried
Is scared and fearful; has frequent nightmares
Is excessively angry
Uses alcohol or drugs
Avoids people; wants to be alone all of the time
Hears voices or sees things that aren’t there
Can’t concentrate, sit still, or focus attention
Needs to wash, clean things, or perform certain rituals many times a day
Talks about suicide or death
Hurts other people or animals; or damages property
Has major changes in eating or sleeping habits
Loses interest in friends or things usually enjoyed
Falls behind in school or earns lower grades
What parents can do:
Consider your child’s mental health a priority, just as you would their physical health and well-being
Be on the watch for any warning signs or noticeable differences/changes in your child
Remind your child that the feelings they are experiencing are absolutely normal and that they are certainly not alone - do not fear seeking professional help encourage your child to talk about their concerns and express their emotions, that you’re on their team
Celebrate your child’s milestones and achievements, despite any of their limitations
Give your child plenty of room to grow and become involved in the community and with others so that they are supported both in the home and outside of the home environment
Be consistent and clear, as well as reasonable with your expectations while acknowledging both positive and negative behaviors
What teachers can do:
The reality is that if a child is experiencing a mental health condition of any kind and severity, they are less likely to be able to concentrate or academically “perform” well in school.
Take note of the students that are displaying any warning signs or if you feel might be a good fit for seeing a school counselor. Testing might be the next best step, and it does not hurt to trust your judgment, to “go with your gut”
Allow and encourage students to express their emotions about what is going on at home and in the community, sometimes, school is a “safe zone” for a child, and its important teachers proactively listen and look out for each student
Continue to seek out educational resources for yourself and become familiar with what mental health conditions are out there. There are a multitude of trainings and informational sessions available to teachers in order to know and best intervene before a crisis occurs.
What doctors can do:
Recognize that mental health is just as important as one’s physical health and happiness
Understand the warning signs of a mental health condition
Be familiar with the screening tools available and resources that are out there, like professional counseling centers and therapy practices
Be familiar with the most effective pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic options that could help support treatment
Be familiar with making referrals for mental health concerns and once a referral is made, be comfortable with following up on that referral until the appropriate care measures have been taken
Mental Health Therapy visits focus on providing encouragement and support in order to create a more balanced, loving, and overall successful home life. By working with both the child and the family using proven psychological methods, Mental Health Therapy can help manage and even eliminate a variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties.
Our goal is to provide parents with the confidence and best possible resources available to understand, manage, and prioritize their family's mental health.
All of our Marshall Pediatric Therapy locations provide Mental Health Therapy through both individual and family counseling sessions. A referral is not required for this discipline, and we work with many insurance providers, including Kentucky Medicaid. Our clinicians are knowledgeable about clinical excellence in all disciplines.