May is Mental Health Awareness Month

  • Posted on: May 15 2019
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Mental Health Services Burr Ridge, IL As the prevalence of mental health conditions continues to increase, dedicating space specifically for the conversation of children’s mental health is vital to our families, our communities, and to the global population. Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day occurred on May 9th. Children and adolescents may not have the ability or security to understand or describe what is happening in their life and mind. Awareness days and months provide us with the opportunity to stand beside these children and advocate for them as they learn to do so for themselves.

Common Mental Health Challenges in Children

The human brain does not reach full development until about the age of 28 years. This means that children and teens, as well as young adults, continue to be vulnerable to conditions that originate in genetics, and are then complicated by subsequent exposure to the wide range of life experiences — psychosocial stressors, academic stress, trauma, addiction, neglect, and so on. Many disorders begin in early childhood.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that approximately 1 in 6 young children (aged 2 to 8 years) have a behavioral, mental, or developmental condition. Many conditions commonly occur together.  Some of the more common diagnoses include:

  •    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  •    Anxiety Disorders
  •    Autism spectrum disorder
  •    Behavioral disorders
  •    Depression
  •    Schizophrenia
  •    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  •    Tourette Syndrome

Attending to Children’s Emotional Needs

Every human has emotional needs that are just as important as their physical needs. One of the first steps that parents, teachers, and caregivers can take is to observe emotional health in this light and give it the thoughtful attention it requires. When needed, professional help should be considered. By learning how to identify a mental health concern, those who are in the position to help a child can do so earlier rather than later.

Know the Signs

There are several ways in which a mental health problem may present in a child. A professional evaluation is critical to identifying if a true disorder exists and, if so, how best to approach it so the child can enjoy an optimal quality of life. A psychiatric evaluation can benefit a child who:

  • Is irritable or sad
  • Tends to be worried or anxious
  • Has frequent nightmares
  • Frequently expresses fear
  • Has angry outbursts
  • Avoids being around people
  • Is showing less interest in previously preferred activities
  • Is socializing less than before
  • Talks about death or suicide
  • Can’t sit still or maintain appropriate attention
  • Damages property or hurts people or pets

Dr. Stull is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with expertise in psychopharmacological as well as psychotherapy techniques. Her extensive educational training is matched by a strong desire to help children thrive by providing compassionate care in a safe, professional environment. Learn more about the services available.

Posted in: Mental Health

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