Children’s Mental Health


Why Is Mental Health Important?

Before I dig into some of the details about children’s mental health, I think it’s important to discuss why mental health is important to talk about for individuals of all ages. As human beings, we are physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual beings. Physical health has been
acknowledged as a need for quite a while; going to the doctor for check-ups, being active and exercising regularly, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep are all things commonly regarded as beneficial for our health. Likewise, many Christian individuals pursue spiritual health through
regular communication with God, reading the Bible, and attending church to worship God with
the body of Christ.

Unfortunately, some individuals stop here. As a culture, there has been a stigma in the past
about pursuing health emotionally and mentally through counseling (it’s important to note that
most effective counselors take a holistic approach to counseling – helping individuals grow in
health physically and spiritually in addition to emotionally and mentally as part of their
treatment plan). Children and adolescents are not immune to these emotional and mental
needs. In fact, emotional and mental health should be looked at as another important aspect of
child development.

Common Questions from Parents:

When do I seek out therapy?

While therapy can be beneficial for everyone at any stage of health, there are ways to help
children and adolescents grow in emotional and mental health without pursuing counseling. I
will speak about modeling in the next section of this blog as well as the parent’s role in their
children’s mental health journeys.

The following are some reasons to seek therapy for your child or adolescent: (1) when your
child appears to be stuck in an unhealthy emotion such as depression, anxiety, or anger, (2)
when your child is struggling to regulate emotions appropriately for their age (see resources
below for a link to age appropriate emotional development), (3) when your child’s behaviors
are unsafe for themselves or others, or (4) when your child’s emotions or behaviors are causing
distress at home, school, or socially. If you are still unsure whether or not therapy is right for
your child, you can speak to your pediatrician about your concerns or call us at SureHope to
discuss your concerns.

Where do I go for help?

All of the staff here at SureHope would love to help direct you to a therapist who is a good fit
for your child. You can contact our North Charlotte/University Area office at (980)272-8180 or
our Matthews office at (704)443-8866. If neither of these locations are convenient for you,
we’d love to direct you to another therapist in your area. Another great place to start is talking
to your pediatrician.

How do I manage my own emotions about my child/adolescent’s mental health?
Sometimes it can feel very overwhelming to parent a child struggling with their mental health.
It’s important to not neglect your own self-care during this time. Many child and adolescent
therapists offer sessions with the parent to address helping the “parent part” of you and to give
parent coaching specific to your child. Additionally, it may be beneficial to seek out an
individual therapist for yourself. This will not only help with your own self-care emotionally and
mentally, but will also model for your child that therapy can be a beneficial way to pursue
mental and emotional health.

The Role of Parents in Children’s Mental Health:

Research shows that parental support and modeling appropriate emotional health increases
the emotional and mental health of a child. In fact, having a safe relationship with a supportive
parent has been shown to help children overcome other outside factors that typically put
children at risk for emotional and mental health problems. One study found that “a good
parent–child relationship may promote young children’s emotional and behavioral resilience to
different types of environmental risk” (Flouri, E., Midouhas, E., Joshi, H. et al. Eur Child Adolesc
Psychiatry (2015) 24: 745. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-014-0619-7). Even when therapy is
the best choice for your child, it is important to know that your safe relationship with your child
helps increase your child’s chance for a positive outcome in therapy and in their mental and
emotional health.

If you struggle to manage and express your emotions appropriately, it may be beneficial to seek
out therapy for yourself. Modeling healthy habits and behaviors will speak volumes to your
child and will help with your child’s emotional development. If you are interested in therapy for
yourself or for your child, please contact us through our website or by phone.

Resources:
https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/signs-symptoms/age-by-age-
learning-skills/social-and-emotional-skills-what-to-expect-at-different-ages

 

~Jessica Winebarger

2019-05-21T12:08:57+00:00