700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

How Can You Help Fight Behavioral Health Stigmas? #starttheconvo

Jun 15, 2017
Mother and son sitting on a couch

One in five children ages 13 to 18 experiences a significant mental illness, and less than half get the treatment they need. This staggering statistic demands a bold response. Nationwide Children’s Hospital is working to meet this overwhelming need by building the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion, the country’s largest pediatric behavioral health facility just for children and teens with mental and behavioral health needs.

So how can you help change this staggering statistic?

Helping children learn to talk about their thoughts, feelings and experiences is one thing that parents and caregivers can do to help identify when a child may be struggling. Simple, everyday conversations when a child has your full attention can provide a safe opportunity for them to talk about the things that they are having a hard time handling or are upsetting to them.

Likewise, reinforcing those things that they are excited by, or are handling well, helps build social and emotional resiliency that may help buffer them from future challenges. Asking nonthreatening questions like, “Tell me what you did today that you feel really good about,” “What was the best thing about today,” or “Was there something that happened today that disappointed you” are all simple questions that might get a child talking. Show your child that it is safe to talk about their thoughts and feelings and getting help from others is a healthy thing to do.

Treating mental illness is a serious matter, and we are grateful to be increasing the professional resources and facilities to improve our response. But stigma is an important barrier to people getting the help they need, and you can help.

If you are interested in receiving a free magnet with ideas of conversation starters to keep handy in your home, click the download button, below.

Download Here

Together we can spread messages of hope and change the conversation and stigma around mental health. Tell us how you are starting mental health conversations with the hashtag #starttheconvo on your social media channels.

Featured Expert

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional
David Axelson, MD
Behavioral Health

David Axelson, MD is recognized nationally and internationally for his work in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry, pediatric bipolar disorder, diagnostic biomarkers for pediatric mood disorders, and pediatric psychopharmacology.

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Pediatric News You Can Use From America’s Largest Pediatric Hospital and Research Center

700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.