Mental Health Moment How to recognize when your child needs help

Why is there still such a stigma with mental health?

Hope Gilchrist

Mental health is not something that is talked about or even focused on much in most homes. Often time when mental health issues arise, they are pushed to the side and minimized because they don’t look like a cut or a scrape. Contrary to what people believe, seeing a therapist does not make you crazy. You do not carry a label for the rest of your life and you do not have to stay in therapy if you don’t like it. Therapy can offer a no-judgment space to discuss issues that are troubling that you may not want to share with a friend or help resolve what we think is old trauma.

How do you know if your family member is depressed or anxious or even suffering with any other mental health disorder? What do some of these disorders look like?

Many times with depression you can’t see it, but they can feel it. Have you noticed your family member may be sleeping more, irritated easily, don’t want to go out, under-performing in school. Sometimes a kid who is hyper and acting out may just be showing age appropriate behaviors but how do you know. Is your kid just shy when they don’t want to be around new people or big crowds or when the scene changes? Is it ADHD? Is it a form of Autism?

Kids who are experiencing the symptoms of mental illness aren’t always able to vocalize what they are feeling so they rely on the people who are taking care of them to do what’s best for them. If a child is experiencing social issues or bullying in school they could benefit from the support of a therapist to help work through what’s happening. Unfortunately kids don’t always share details of what’s happening in school with their parents and guardians.

Why therapy?

Do you sometimes have dilemmas in your head that you wish you could speak out loud? Therapy has been beneficial in encouraging stronger communication skills, self-esteem building and mending broken families. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Mental health issues usually start in your head and can then affect your physical health. If we go to the doctors for what we can physically see and feel we need to also go see someone for the things we emotionally feel as well. Seeing a mental health therapist can save your life just as well as a medical doctor. Your overall health is important.

How do you find a mental health practitioner to help you with the symptoms you are having?

  • Check with your insurance they can give you some suggestions.
  • Psychology Today has profiles of providers. Look for one who best fits you.
  • Check with your primary care physician.

Hope Gilchrist is a licensed clinical professional counselor and an approved clinical supervisor for the state of Maryland. She has a private practice in  Rosedale.

 

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