Children’s Mental Health

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Children’s Mental Health Matters
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Children’s Mental Health Matters

Just as you can help prevent a child from catching a cold or breaking a bone, you can help prevent a child from having mental health problems.  We know what it takes to keep a child physically healthy—nutritious food, exercise, immunizations – but the basics for good mental health aren’t always as clear.  The first “basic” is to know that children’s mental health matters.  We need to treat a child’s mental health just like we do their physical health, by giving it thought and attention and, when needed, professional help.

Consequences of Mental Illness May Be Prevented

Although there can be a genetic or biological component to mental illness, and many children live in unsafe environments that put them “at-risk” of developing mental health problems, the consequences of mental illness may often be prevented through early intervention.  At the very least, it is possible to delay mental illness and/or lessen symptoms.  The best way to promote children’s mental health is to build up their strengths, help to “protect” them from risks and give them tools to succeed in life.

Mental Health Promotion

Promoting a child’s mental health means helping a child feel secure, relate well with others and foster their growth at home and at school.  We do this by helping to build a child’s confidence and competence – the foundation of strong self-esteem.  This can be achieved by providing a child with a safe and secure home; warmth and love; respect; caring and trusting relationships with family, friends, and adults in the community; opportunities to talk about experiences and feelings; time to play, learn, and succeed; encouragement and praise; and consistent and fair expectations with clear consequences for misbehavior.

Know the signs

If there is concern that a child may be experiencing a mental health problem, it is important for adults to seek help from a doctor or mental health professional.  Just like with physical illness, treating mental health problems early may help to prevent a more serious illness from developing in the future.  Consider consulting a professional if a child you know:

  • Feels very sad, hopeless or irritable
  • Feels overly anxious or worried
  • Is scared and fearful; has frequent nightmares
  • Is excessively angry
  • Uses alcohol or drugs
  • Avoids people; wants to be alone all of the time
  • Hears voices or sees things that aren’t there
  • Can’t concentrate, sit still, or focus attention
  • Needs to wash, clean things, or perform certain rituals many times a day
  • Talks about suicide or death
  • Hurts other people or animals; or damages property
  • Has major changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Loses interest in friends or things usually enjoyed
  • Falls behind in school or earns lower grades

What Parents Can Do

​What Teachers Can Do

What Doctors Can Do

Learn more about specific mental health conditions and children

 

Help is Available

Mental disorders in children are treatable.  Early identification, diagnosis and treatment help children reach their full potential and improve the family dynamic. Children’s mental health matters! To learn more, talk to a doctor, mental health professional or visit one of the websites below.

Resources

Mental Health America
800-969-6MHA
www.mentalhealthamerica.net

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 
www.aacap.org

American Psychiatric Association
www.psych.org

American Psychological Association
www.apa.org

Center for Parents and Information Resources
www.parentcenterhub.org

Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
www.ffcmh.org

Kids Mental Health Information Portal
www.kidsmentalhealth.org

 

Address and Contact

620 Eighth Avenue
Terre Haute, IN 47804
(800) 742-0787

Programs & Education

Mental Health Screenings

Screenings are a quick way to determine if you or someone you care about may need to reach out to a doctor or mental health professional for evaluation.
Take Screening