Keeping mental health top of mind as kids go back to school
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -
When you add up all the things that goes into back to school- new schedules, new friends, bullying, social media, not to mention grades and extra-curriculars, it’s obviously a stressful time for parents and kids.
That’s why many are concerned with the rising need for youth mental health services.
Mental health experts explain what’s being done to help during this chaotic time of the year.
“We want people to know that it’s okay to not be okay,” explains Amber Blomberg of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Caring Foundation.
In a recent report conducted by BCBSND Caring Foundation and the NDSU Center for Social Research, the percentage of high schoolers feeling sad and hopeless have doubled over the past decade.
“Kids are coming to school with a lot more than just their back pack they’re coming with a lot more baggage,” says Blomberg.
This time of year can be especially challenging.
Outpatient therapist at The Village, Samantha Plumski says, “A lot of anxiety, a lot of self-esteem, even depression because of the stress they’re experiencing and not knowing what to do with it.”
Experts agree, kids are experiencing struggles with mental and behavioral health younger and younger.
“More kiddos and people are feeling depressed, have anxiety, suicide rates are significantly higher in isolation,” Blomberg says.
So how can you tell if your child needs additional support for their mental health?
“Any significant change in their normal ‘normal’ behavior, explains Plumski, “Anything that kind of seems not typical for them, that seems to come out of the blue, I think that’s the biggest thing to just be mindful of.”
There are resources out there, if you’re willing to look for it.
“As a parent I think that’s really important to advocate for your child” Plumski says.
Experts recommend reaching out directly to outpatient counseling services. You can also contact your child’s guidance counselor or primary physician to get more mental and behavioral health support for your child.
Experts also say, if you’re unsure whether your child needs additional behavioral or mental health services to make the call and don’t wait until it’s too late.
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