One of the trends that is disturbing and seems to be more frequent than we would like to admit is that of serious mental health issues in children. For the past several years we have been more aware of this trend by virtue of so many of our regional schools that have requested help with this growing issue. Lakeside provides counseling services within school districts in 7 regional counties. We also provide educational, clinical and behavior management services to hundreds of teenagers in our 4 schools. Depression, high anxiety and even suicidal tendencies are on the rise which is indicative of some of the mental health concerns that we have with our current population of students.
Recently Patti Verbanis of Rutgers University published an article recognizing mental health concerns in children. Here is some of the research and suggestions from this article:
“This illustrates the need for people who encounter children regularly to be aware of early signs of mental illness, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts,” says Kelly Moore, program manager for the Children’s Center for Resilience and Trauma Recovery at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.
“Children who appear aggressive or despondent may actually be dealing with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or trauma.”
This article also lists some early warning signs of mental health issues in children that parents, caregivers and school professionals can be aware of as they deal with children. Obviously the earlier we can detect these types of issues the better the chances of getting help to these children. Please refer to this link to help identify these early warning signs:
We need to have the upmost vigilance about these issues in our children. I encourage all parents, caregivers and professionals who deal with children to be observational and proactive with regard to assessing the early warning signs of mental health deficits. Early intervention can prevent a lifetime of challenges for a child who is struggling with mental health related symptoms.