Each year, National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day brings attention to the importance of children’s mental health. We know that being mentally healthy is important for all people, but is especially essential for children and adolescents during the early stages of development.
Mental health conditions typically start in the adolescent years around age 14, but it can be hard to distinguish between typical teenage behaviors and mental illness. According to the National Association on Mental Illness, some of the signs of mental illness are:
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes
The National Association on Mental Illness has a list of further symptoms that are helpful to be aware of, as well as guidance on how to get help. Click here to learn the warning signs.
As we continue to learn more about the importance of children’s mental health, professionals are finding that best practice is to use an “Integrated Care” approach to support children who are struggling with serious emotional disturbances and/or have experienced some kind of trauma.
“Integrated Care” (also referred to as “Collaborative Care”) is a team approach that combines primary health care and mental health care in one setting. It addresses the whole child by blending physical and behavioral health care with feedback from the child’s parent or caregiver to create positive health outcomes that are cost-effective.
Throughout this Mental Health Awareness Month, and for the years to come, we encourage you to learn more about mental illness, its prevalence, and ways that you can show support for the young people in your life who may be struggling. Each person’s life is valuable, and when someone is clouded by mental health concerns, we should be ready to reach out and guide them toward help.