Children and Mental Health
It may appear that diabetes or too much screen time are the most pressing concerns today’s parents have for their children. But the mental health of our young people is worsening. Here is what you need to know and how to spot the warning signs of depression and anxiety.
What Parents Should Watch For
Children suffer from depression, just as adults do but their symptoms may be different. Depression is defined as an illness when the feelings of depression persist and interfere with a child or adolescent’s ability to function. Here are some symptoms to be aware of:
- Frequent sadness and crying
- Reduced interest in activities
- Persistent boredom or low energy
- Social isolation and poor communication
- Heightened sensitivity to failure or rejection
- Increased irritability, anger or hostility
- Difficulty with relationships
- Increased physical illnesses
- Frequent school absences
- Difficulty concentrating
- Marked changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Expressed thoughts of suicide or self-destructive behavior
- Attempts to run away from home or discussion of it
The Staggering Statistics
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the numbers of children who are suffering with mental health challenges is staggering. It claims that 1 in 5 American children between the ages of 3 and 17 have a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder during a given year. It further states that only 20 percent of the children are diagnosed and receive treatment, which means 80 percent, about 12 million, are not treated when they experience these difficulties.
In the past year, NBC Nightly News did some in-depth reporting on this crisis over several months. Mental health disorders were found to be the most common illnesses experienced in children under the age of 18. One of the sad findings in this series showed that mental health problems may actually begin at much earlier ages than previously thought. Left untreated when experienced as toddlers, depression is thought to reappear later in life.
Teens going through adolescence are at a particular risk as their bodies are growing quickly and they experience hormonal shifts as they mature. It is a time of life that brings a lot of vulnerability with it and, as a result, is often a time period when we see anxiety and depression problems develop. The Child Mind Institute’s 2018 study on anxiety in our youngsters found that there has been a significant 17 percent increase in anxiety diagnosis. About half of mental illness begins by age 14, according to the American Psychiatric Association. The tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder is nearly double between the ages of 13 and 18.
Working through a child’s mental health issues may take some time, but the good news is that children are resilient and very responsive to treatment.
If you feel concerned about the metal well-being of your child, please call us today at (305) 603-7824 to make an appointment to come in, and for both of you, if appropriate, to speak with one of our clinicians. There are numerous ways to mitigate depression and sensible pathways for alleviating anxiety.
As part of Miami’s inner-city community, we are committed to the people we serve. We want to level the playing field medically for the kids of our community by giving them a chance to feel good mentally and physically. Bring your children to our walk-in clinic at Family Medical Clinic Kendall for primary care appointments. We consider every patient a member of our extended family and enjoy serving generations of families at our practice. Our commitment to you begins the moment you step into our office. Located at 9000 SW 137th Avenue, Suite 111, in Miami, we offer a walk-in clinic, urgent care and a lab & diagnostics.