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Do Kids Really Have Mental Health Concerns?

When we hear the words mental health, we often think immediately of mental health problems but mental health refers to our overall psychological well being including how we feel about ourselves, the quality of our relationships, and our ability to manage our feelings and deal with difficulties.  Like physical health, it is important at all stages of our life.  And, like physical health there are lots of things we can do ourselves to encourage good mental health and there is help available when we need it. 

Mental health problems cause changes in our thinking, mood, or behavior and range from mild to severe and from temporary to chronic.  They can affect anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age or background.  They are not caused by poor decisions or bad habits.  They affect a person's physical, mental, and emotional well-being much as other health conditions like diabetes or heart disease.

Most children and young people enjoy good mental health.  Many children and young people go through rough times as they mature.  Most often, challenging behavior improves as they grow and mature but when it doesn't you should seek help from your doctor or another trusted professional who can help you understand what treatments are available and recommended.  Treatment for mental health problems can include medication, rehabilitation, psychotherapy, group therapy, self help or a combination of these. 

Research shows that only one out of two people with a serious mental health problem seek help.  Often this is because people fear being treated differently or stigmatized for having mental health problems.  We wouldn't avoid seeking help for our diabetes for fear of what people say so why should we fear seeking help for mental health concerns?  Treat mental health concerns like any other healthcare condition and seek specialized help when needed.