A Sound Mind: Children’s Behavioral Health

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 12:24 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -

Nobody ever said that growing up was easy, and for children suffering from anxiety or depression, it could be even more difficult. In our continuing series, A Sound Mind, Brian Bouchard looks at Children’s Behavioral Health and some warning signs for parents to watch out for.

“I think that they need to be aware that mental health is equally as important as your child’s physical health and you need to pay attention to the warning signs.”

Amy Deprey, Administrative Manager of Children’s Behavioral Health for AMHC says parents must be proactive when it comes to monitoring their child’s mental health.

“If you have a child who is having a really difficult time sleeping and you’ve ruled out that there’s nothing medically that’s going on, you need to consider that they may be having some anxiety. If you have a child who all of a sudden stops doing the things that they love and enjoy, you have to really take into consideration that they might be struggling with some depression. And it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to reach out, it doesn’t mean you failed as a parent, it doesn’t mean there’s anything necessarily wrong with your child.”

Though every child is different, a common trend among kids and teenagers is problems surrounding social media.

“Kids are on social media all the time, they’re being exposed to things that I cant even imagine that they’re seeing on a repetitive basis everyday. Things that, when we were growing up, we didn’t have a clue about”

Deprey went on to say that having a conversation with your child, and asking open ended questions helps foster open communication, which can help identify any issues.

“So being there for your child, checking in, talking to the teachers, if your child is in youth sports, checking in with the coach. Just seeing how they’re functioning across all domains of their life, all different areas of their life. It’s so important and a lot of us are working parents, and it’s very difficult to find the time to balance it all, but talking to your children is key and having a relationship that allows for your children to talk to you is so important as well.”

And with a new school year starting up in a matter of weeks for some districts, Deprey says many children may be feeling anxious about heading back to the classroom.

“Talking to your child about starting school, asking if they’re having any fears or concerns related to that. Meet your child’s teachers, let them know if they’ve shared something with you that they’re concerned about. Check in often, and if your child is struggling and really is reporting that they’re having a lot of anxiety related to school, and again maybe some depression. Reach out, ask for help, that is key, early intervention really does make a difference for our kids.”

Deprey says it may be difficult to get an appointment for your child to be seen by a mental health professional due to waiting lists, so it’s important to support them through their struggles until they can get the help they need. If you think more intensive treatment is needed, Deprey says it’s important to reach out for help as soon as possible.

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8

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