This week is National Mental Health Awareness Week. Mental health conditions affect over 42 million people, approximately one in five or 20%. To my surprise, the statistics of one in five are the same found in children. Yes, children…..
I know of a little girl, who currently lay in a children’s hospital bed under mandated psychological observation after trying to commit suicide. She’s been abused emotionally and probably physically under the supervision of her single parent. Ever since birth, she’s been moved from one home to another while being kept isolated, often missing school. She has little to no social life, having been groomed to be her parent’s caregiver while being encouraged and/or allowed to take part in illegal drug abuse. Recently, a social worker stepped in, taking a drug test of the child, and indeed she tested positive. Like most abused children, this innocent one would do anything to protect her mother, anything in the world to sustain her mother’s love. Even to the point of taking her own life in order to silence herself.
I thank God for saving this child, and ask that she be provided the best possible mental health care. She needs true love, patience, and understanding, together with counseling and a stable home in the future. All of which are waiting for her.
We must remember not only the 42 million adults who suffer each and every day with a mental health condition but also the 1 in 5 children who are rarely mentioned. They must not be forgotten. Children most often do not recognize symptoms, nor do they understand that help is available! These innocent lambs are silent.
The above little girl’s case is rare. Most children living with mental health conditions are from warm and loving homes with parents who may not know their child needs help.
Mental health conditions should be treated as Chronic Conditions without any stigma. To all and everyone, please look for warning signs in children. No child should ever have to suffer.
Pick up the phone, you may save a life today!
Warning Signs of Mental Conditions in Children:
- Mood Changes
- Intense Feelings
- Behavior Changes
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Physical Symptoms: Compared with adults, children may develop headaches & stomachaches rather than depression & anxiety.
- Substance Abuse: Children may try to cope with their feelings through alcohol or drugs.
- Self-Injury or Self-Harm: The act of deliberately hurting one’s own body, such as cutting or burning. Children with a mental health condition may also develop suicidal thoughts or actually attempt suicide.