Research shows that our behaviors and self-image can largely be attributed to our upbringing and childhood. It goes to show how mental health is an essential part of our overall health at every stage of life, including the early ones.
Whether you are looking for tips on how to help your child express the "not-so-good" emotions or support your teen as they navigate growing pains and social stressors, there are plenty of resources available for the whole family.
Most parents know in their gut when something isn’t right with their kids, but sometimes the signs can be hard to pinpoint. Not only that but signs and symptoms can vary according to how old your child is and what their personality is like.
Some signs of mental health struggles in younger kids may include increased tantrums, moodiness, and behavioral problems. Some signs of mental health struggles in adolescents may include: sleep changes (e.g., sleeping more than usual or hardly at all), withdrawal from activities they previously enjoyed, and increased engagement in risky activities.
According to the CDC, ADHD, anxiety problems, behavior problems, and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children.
Besides having honest talks with your child and creating a general atmosphere of trust around difficult emotions, there are some actions and preventative measures you should take as you notice mental health concerns emerging in your child:
The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force officially recommends screening for some mental health conditions starting at age 8 and for depression starting at age 12. Because of the prevalence and availability of information, today’s youth have access to information about mental health from an early age but might lack the understanding and communication skills to express their experiences to adults without help.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health.
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