The first week of May is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, a national campaign that raises awareness and funds to promote kids’ mental health and well-being.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), as many as one in six U.S. children under the age of 17 has a treatable mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The majority of psychological health issues in children present by the time they’re 14, but many cases go undetected and untreated.

‍The consequences of ignoring adolescent mental health issues continue into adulthood, affecting not just one’s physical health but also one’s mental well-being and limiting chances to enjoy a full life as an adult.

The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected mental health worldwide, and there is a significant concern about the long-term impacts on children. However, while the pandemic has impacted kids’ psychological health, many experts suggest that the pandemic hasn’t created a mental health problem so much as it has just shone a light on a crisis that has been around for a long time.

mental health

Some kids are more at risk of developing mental health issues

Certain children seem to be more at risk for developing mental health issues than others. For example, kids who have a family history of mental illness are more likely to experience it themselves. Additionally, children who have experienced trauma or abuse are also at an increased risk of developing mental health issues.

LGBTQIA+ youth are more prone to mental health problems than others. This is due, in part, to the prejudice and discrimination they may face at school, at home, and in their wider community.

Research suggests that these psychological health issues are linked to variables like family acceptance and bullying. This indicates that prejudice and discrimination, rather than simply being LGBTQIA+, might explain the mental health problems that affect youth in this community.

It’s important to remember that any child can develop a mental health problem, regardless of their background or circumstances. If you’re concerned about your child’s psychological health, it’s essential to reach out to a professional for help. Many children can overcome their mental health challenges and lead happy, healthy lives with early intervention and treatment.

Screens and technology can contribute to mental health symptoms

There is no doubt that screen time has become a mainstay in children’s lives. A report from Common Sense Media found that nearly 60% of American kids ages eight and under have access to a mobile device, and 72% of parents say their child uses some form of technology daily. According to the same report, kids’ average amount of time with screens is more than seven hours a day.

While there are many benefits to children using technology, such as increased access to information and educational resources, there is growing concern about the potential adverse effects of too much screen time on young minds. Several studies have linked excessive screen time to poorer mental health in children and adolescents.

For example, one large-scale study published in JAMA Psychiatry in 2019 found that children who spend more than three hours a day on screens are more likely to have increased levels of internalizing problems, such as anxiety and depression, than those who use screens for less than an hour a day.

Coinciding with children’s mental health week is Screen-Free Week. The goal of Screen-Free Week is to encourage people to rekindle their love for life beyond screens. During the first week of May, thousands of families, schools, and communities worldwide will turn off their entertainment devices for seven days and have a lot of fun, connection, and discovery.

To observe and celebrate Screen-Free Week with kids, you may make an effort to do anything else rather than spend time with screens. This may include getting outside and taking walks, playing at the playground, visiting local parks and museums, playing board games, and reading. Screen-free week is a perfect time to visit your local library.

Signs that your child may need help

Mental health disorders in children can manifest in many ways. Some common symptoms include:

-Withdrawing from friends and activities

-Sadness or irritability

-Excessive worry or anxiety

-Problems sleeping

-Uncontrollable anger

– Signs of PTSD after a traumatic event

If your child exhibits any of these signs, it is vital to seek professional help. Early intervention is critical in treating mental health disorders and can prevent them from becoming more severe later in life.

There are several ways to get help for your child if you think they may be struggling with a mental health issue. First, you can talk to your pediatrician about a mental health screening and the possibility of referring you to a mental health professional.

If you are worried about your child’s psychological health, don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s physician or mental health services near you. With early intervention and treatment, your child can lead a happy and healthy life.

Mental health issues in children and older kids are sometimes hard to spot. Many of the symptoms can be chalked up to typical teenage mood swings. However, some key signs may indicate a more severe problem.

If a teenager exhibits signs of depression, such as persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, and withdrawal from friends and family, this could be a cause for concern. If these symptoms are accompanied by changes in sleeping or eating habits, difficulty concentrating, or thoughts of self-harm, it is essential to seek mental health services.

Anxiety disorders are also common in children and adolescents. Symptoms of anxiety can include excessive worry, irritability, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. If a teenager regularly has panic attacks, struggles to leave the house, or avoids social situations, it is worth seeking professional help.

Early intervention is crucial in mental health treatment

Early intervention is critical for getting children proper mental health treatment. If left untreated, these issues in children can lead to severe problems later in life, including poor school performance, substance abuse, and even suicide. Early intervention can help prevent these problems by providing children with the necessary tools to cope with their condition. It can also help them develop healthy coping mechanisms and social skills. Early intervention is the key to helping children with mental health issues thrive in life.

There are many mental health treatment options for children- the most common ones being individual therapy and family therapy. In many cases, a child’s doctor may refer them to a psychiatrist for a medication assessment along with traditional therapy.

When a child has a mental illness, it affects the whole family unit. This is one reason that family therapy can be a good option for children having psychological health issues, as it provides support to the family as a whole.

Family therapy can help children and their parents, caregivers, or siblings learn coping mechanisms and more effective ways of communication to manage their mental health issues and make positive changes in their lives.

If your child is struggling with mental health symptoms and you would like to explore therapy, call Serene Health. We offer many behavioral health and mental health services, including individual and family therapy, and we have flexible appointments available through our telehealth platform. Call us at 844-737-3638 or visit us at www.serenehealth.com to book an appointment.