Mental Health Conditions Are Top 5 Causes of Disability in Children

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teen_doctorWhen you are a parent, your child’s health is always at the forefront of your mind. Parents routinely recognize the signs of common physical illnesses in their kids and cart them off to the doctor at the earliest signs of trouble. But would the average parent get a check up for a socially withdrawn teenager or just chalk it up to normal teen moodiness? Without signs as obvious as coughing and sneezing, many parents miss the warning signs of mental illnesses.

October 1st was Child Health Day; a day intended to raise awareness of improving and protecting the mental health of children. According to an article recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), for the first time in almost half a century, the top 5 disabilities affecting US children are mental health problems rather than physical health problems. The American Psychological Association (APA) also reports that “1 out of every 10 children or adolescents has a serious mental health problem.”

While the dramatic increase of mental health conditions in children could be a result of increased awareness and recognition of mental health conditions in children, study authors also suggest that the increase could be due to a rise in the number of premature births, exposure to toxins during infancy, and other genetic and environmental risk factors.

Identifying mental illness and intervening earlier in a child’s life may increase the chances of better outcomes in adulthood. Unidentified or untreated mental illnesses in adulthood can have grave consequences including job loss, isolation, physical illness, and even suicide.

It can be difficult to identify mental illnesses in children and even more difficult to talk about. Undiagnosed and untreated mental illness only gets worse. There are many treatments available for kids with mental health conditions, including medications and therapy, but identification of a mental illness is a key first step. 

Knowing the signs of teen depression is a great first step in taking care of your child’s mental health. We will be hosting a free webinar on Teen Depression on October 18th at 6 pm EST to help parents learn the warning signs of depression. The webinar will cover what teen depression is, how to talk to teens about depressive disorders, and treatment options. We will also discuss any difficulties that may arise, and will investigate how depression and self-injury are related. By becoming educated, parents can intervene early and get their children the most effective treatment possible.

Register by visiting http://www.familyaware.org/trainings/994-teen-trainings.html

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