As schools and mental health providers struggle to improve identification and delivery of services to children and adolescents with mental health issues, let’s not overlook the vital role of preventative care available to families whose struggles are “normal,” whose children may not need psychiatric help but may need assistance dealing with issues life presents.
The article in Sunday’s Connecticut Post, (“How to identify, help kids with mental health disorders), does not address those with normal struggles — struggles that if left unaddressed might very well develop into something more debilitating.
The first-grader who is shy becomes the third-grader a bit lonely. By seventh grade, is he isolated, and by ninth, bullied? What happens in senior year? Is she cutting herself? Is he aggressive? Are there drugs, academic troubles, and risky behavior which might have been averted if families had reached out before there was “trouble”? For children, teens and families stressed by today’s social and environmental factors, those without “mental health disorders,” it can be all too short a jump to labels and “problems.”
As a life skills therapist and communications coach who deals with stress management, I urge parents who wonder about their children, “Is something wrong?” not to wait. Take action. Better to take a pre-emptive strike on the difficulties our kids bury, even if they don’t seem monumental at the time. Like the homeland security ad on TV, “If you see something, say something” — if you think something’s off with your child, there probably is. Check it out. Make it right before there’s a crisis, diagnosis, file, label or doctor needed. It’s not “making a mountain out of a molehill”; it’s preventing that mountain down the road from spewing lava.
The bullies, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and mental health issues of childhood often follow us right into adulthood and work. Here are some stress management tips (from a therapeutic coaching standpoint) for handling the jerk in the next cubicle, or our own ADD or anxiety on the job.
My article on this topic was just published in Hartford Business Journal and will interest employers, those of us who work with or employ difficult people, or who bring our own psychological troubles, family problems or chronic mental health challenges into the boardroom, classroom, lab, or cubicle.
Click the link below for the for the full story.
I’m eager to hear your comments.
There are missing voices at the table. There are old feuds. There are the attention seekers and getters. There are silences and oversights. The bounty of the day may not reflect the daily financial struggle we have at home. Thanksgiving can be rough waters. Families simply aren’t Norman Rockwell paintings.
Put your imagingation and memory to rest. What was is no longer. What is today has meaning. Find the blessings of this moment, and this year. Make peace. Enjoy. And put the CD’s in your mind of memories on the shelf. I am.