How Can You Help Fight Behavioral Health Stigmas? #starttheconvo
Jun 15, 2017
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.
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.
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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