By Rochelle Fritz, PhD
Pediatric Behavioral Health Clinical Lead
Integrated Behavioral Health Provider
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an ideal time to learn more about how mental health affects our lives. Although the importance of good mental health (also known as behavioral health) is increasingly being recognized as a critical component of health and wealth being, there are still many stigmas associated with having mental health issues, especially among the young.
Many studies have shown that the mental health of children and teens has declined over the last ten years, and has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Teenagers, especially, often hide mental health problems from those around them. Whether you are a teenager suffering with a mental health issue or a parent dealing with this problem, you should know you are not alone. Approximately 21% of U.S. adults and almost 17% of those aged 6-17 years-old will experience a mental health disorder in a given year. Therefore, it’s important for parents and others in a child’s life to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder.
Talking to your pediatrician or family practitioner is a good first step if you think your child is experiencing anxiety, depression, or another mental health concern. You can support your child best by learning more about what your child is going through. Books and articles can be a great way to increase our understanding about the stresses young people face growing up and how they deal with their problems. Consider asking your healthcare provider for reading recommendations.
If you or your child is having a behavioral health concern, please reach out to your primary care provider or pediatrician. Reliant integrates Behavioral Health into primary care with behavioral health consultants on their care teams that are available to help. Learn more here.