If a child shows signs of a serious physical illness, most parents immediately see a doctor and investigate all the treatment options. Unfortunately, when a child is showing signs of mental health issues, many parents do not recognize the signs, or are not so quick to respond.
Parents are sometimes slow to seek help for mental illness for three key reasons:
- they are concerned about the social stigma connected with mental health issues,
- they don’t want to label their child as having a problem that will prevent them from learning to overcome it, or
- they don’t recognize the health problem because it looks too much like a behavior problem.
Mental Health Issues Affect One in Five Children
It’s unfortunate that there would be any social stigma connected with mental health issues because the number of people affected by them is just so high. Approximately one fifth of children suffer from a mental health issue. The most common problems are Generalized Anxiety, ADHD and Oppositional Defiance (a childhood disorder characterized by angry, hostile behavior towards adults). Despite the large numbers of children needing help, only one third of children and their families get the help they need.
Sometimes pediatricians are slow to recognize a mental health issue, too. Doctor appointments can be time-consuming and complications or challenges when referring to a specialist. Parents themselves may suffer from the disorder and have difficulties coping effectively, as well.
What Early Diagnosis & Treatment Can Do for Your Family
Early treatment can be a lifesaver for many children. It can mend family relationships and help a child be more successful in school and friendships. It sets their whole life up on a better path.
If you think your child may have a mental health issue, don’t wait. Seek help now so early treatment can lead to a better future.
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