What’s wrong, and how do we help? Getting children the right mental-health support
In the US, the National Institute of Mental Health affirms that one in every 5 young people between the ages of 13 and 18 live with a mental health condition. However, statistics show that there is an average delay of 8 and 10 years between the onset of mental illness symptoms and intervention to address the issue.
Similarly, The National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows a trend that more and more teens nowadays experienced a major depressive episode and a higher suicide rate compared to the past.
These statistics are alarming, and parents and educators are worried. This article shares how to approach finding support to ensure the emotional and psychological well-being of teenagers.
Rosalind Wiseman, a parenting educator and best-selling author advises that “at- risk” kids are not the only ones who can have mental problems, but it can be any kid in society dealing with anxiety just as those affected by the school shootings in the US.
Kids may tell you “I’m fine” when they’re not. Or they can be happy one day and miserable the next day but won’t tell you why. It’s difficult to know how to get the help they need without your own emotions getting in the way. According to Wiseman, these are the principles to remember.
Four fundamental principles:
1. Model that asking for help is a strength and something you respect.
2. Give them as much control of the process as possible.
3. Control your natural urge to “fix” the problem.
4. Have faith in your child.
Parents may not always be the best person to give advice in this situation. “Letting go” might be the best approach and acknowledging the need to get help from an expert. The process of finding a mental-health professional may take a while with the aim of finding the right fit and including your child in the process. And if for any reason, the child resists, here is what Wiseman suggests parents to say:
“Everyone goes through times in life where problems or feelings are just too big to handle on your own. It’s not weak to ask for help. It actually takes a tremendous amount of courage. You’re going through a tough time, and you need to talk to someone who knows more about how to handle these problems than we do. I know I can’t force you to talk to someone, and I know some therapists aren’t good at their jobs. I am asking you to do this: I’ll do some research and find a few people in the area who work with people your age. I’ll give you a list of people to choose from and you make the choice of who you want to see. You don’t need to see them forever. Just check it out a few times and see if you can find someone you think is worth your time. We will just take this one step at a time.”
How do you find an expert your child will connect with?
1. Research therapists who specialize in children and adolescent mental health.
2. Contact each one of them to ask whether they will have a short conversation on the phone with your child — more than 10 minutes — to see whether it’s a good fit.
3. Don’t assume you have to find a therapist that looks like your child. If possible, include in your list men and women, an older person and a younger person. You never know who your child will connect with.
4. Ask your child to prepare their own questions so that they have a voice in the process.
Once you find an expert, be aware of where you are. Give your child space and wait outside of the office when picking them up after a session. If you need to speak to the therapist, discuss beforehand with your child when you plan to do it and ask how you should approach it. In this way, they feel respected and will be more receptive to share their feelings.
Don’t bombard your child with questions and respect their privacy. Let them know that you are concerned to know how the process is working for them, and you are there to listen if they want to tell you something.
Remember not to neglect yourself, find resources and support for yourself. You need an outlet to process your emotions for your own well-being.
The experience may be difficult for both parent and child, but by getting the help your child needs with their involvement, will help to assure them how much they are loved, listened and supported.
Original Article Link:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2018/03/05/whats- wrong-and-how- do-we- help-getting- children-the- right-mental- health-support/?utm_campaign=buffer&utm_content=buffer0a442&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_term=.7af4e025f2da