May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the first week of the month is National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week. It's meant to draw attention to the fact that many children and adults suffer from mental health issues, yet a lot of it goes under the radar.
A lot of people don't even know how to detect potential mental illness in children. It doesn't always manifest the same way as it does in adults. If kids experience loss of appetite, see a drop in grades, have trouble sleeping and seem constantly worried, that may be an indicator of a mental health issue.
According to one doctor, it's best for parents to raise the issue with a physician if they suspect such a problem. Intervening early and tackling the issue before it becomes an even bigger problem can make a big difference. So can seeking treatment that can really help, such as therapy, counseling or medication in more extreme cases. Also just having the support of family and friends can be extremely beneficial to a child.
Unfortunately, not all children with mental health issues get such treatment, and that's partially because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. One in five children in this country suffers from some type of mental health issue. Their problems may vary from anxiety or depression to hyperactivity disorder.
In any case, being aware of a problem and seeking treatment is always better than pretending it isn't there. Issues that emerge in childhood can become more serious later in life, and it can affect all aspects of one's lifestyle, including the ability to work.
Source: Boston.com, "It's Children's Mental Health Awareness Week - how aware are you?" Claire McCarthy, May 7, 2012
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