We wanted to share a few resources from NAMI Central Texas as May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. In speaking with NAMI, they shared that one of the biggest myths they hear is that kids are not affected by mental health issues.
A recent report from the CDC shows that emergency room visits for mental-health related issues rose 31% among teens and 24% among elementary-aged children just during the 7 month period after COVID-19 shutdowns began in 2020. The startling statistics have been getting widespread coverage, highlighting the continued need to focus on mental health even as the pandemic wanes.
This data is not surprising to those working in the mental health field. Children and teens, while incredibly resilient, are also vulnerable to the effects of stress, isolation, grief, and uncertainty that have been ever-present during the pandemic.
Parents, teachers, and everyone working with children should continue to pay attention to the signs and symptoms that a child or teen might be struggling.
Warning Signs for Young Children
• Changes in school performance
• Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance, fighting to avoid bed or school
• Hyperactive behavior
• Frequent nightmares
• Frequent disobedience or aggression
• Frequent temper tantrums
Warning Signs for Teens
• Feeling very sad and/or withdrawn for more than 2 weeks.
• Severe out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors that cause harm to self or others.
• Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason. Sometimes with a racing heart, physical discomfort or difficulty breathing.
• Seeing, hearing, or believing things that aren’t real.
• Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality, or sleeping habits.
• Extreme difficulty concentrating or staying still that put a person in physical danger or causes school failure.
• Intense worries or fear that get in the way of daily activities.
• Throwing up, using laxatives, or not eating to lose weight; significant weight loss or weight gain.
• Excessive use of alcohol or drugs.
• Trying to harm oneself, attempting suicide, or making plans to do so.
NAMI Central Texas has compiled a few of their favorite resources for those looking for ways to support the children and teens in their lives and better manage feelings of uncertainty and fear. Those resources can be found here.
Additionally, find out more about Depressed Cake Shop, a two week event raising awareness for postpartum depression: