Posts Tagged ‘ Speak Up For Kids ’

Speaking Honestly About Children’s Mental Health

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

It’s been said that “a mother is only as happy as her least happy child,” and it’s so true that children’s mental health affects the whole family. If your child suffers from anxiety or depression or ADHD, you want to get her the best treatment just like you would if she had diabetes or asthma or cancer. And yet, stigma still does exist, and can get in the way of addressing a child’s problem. In our recent survey of more than 1,600 parents conducted in partnership with the Child Mind Institute, 48% said they think parents are to blame for children who exhibit disruptive behavior.

In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, there has been a call for improved mental health care—and mental health advocates are seizing this opportunity to talk about the importance of effective diagnosis and treatment. Indeed, our survey found that 60% of parents are concerned that kids who have a mental illness like Asperger’s Syndrome or depression are more likely to hurt themselves or others, and 61% of parents said that parents of children with mental health problems should not be allowed to have a gun in their home. However, the truth is that most violent crimes are not actually committed by people who are mentally ill, and kids with mental health issues can grow up to lead happy, productive lives when they get proper care.

“The Newtown shooting has lead to a national conversation about mental health—not just to prevent potential violence, which is very rare, but to prevent suffering, which is very common and often very treatable,” says Parents advisor Harold Koplewicz, M.D., president of the Child Mind Institute. “What we hope will come from the tragedy is openness that starts in each family and community, when we acknowledge our worries about our own children, and help make other parents feel safe enough to speak up about their worries, too.”

One piece of good news from our survey: 66% of respondents do believe that parents are now more likely to seek help if their child’s behavior worries them. We’ve also been encouraged to learn that an increasing number of pediatricians now have mental-health professionals working right in their office. Not only does that make access to care easier, but it sends a message that mental heath is just as important as physical health.

You can participate in the Speak Up For Kids campaign and learn more from the online events being hosted by the Child Mind Institute in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month.

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Need Help With Your Child’s Behavior?

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Who doesn’t?

We’re halfway through National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and we wanted to make sure you knew about an important event that’s happening: Friday at 12 p.m. EST, our friends at Child Mind Institute, as part of their Speak Up For Kids initiative, will present a live Facebook talk called “Managing Behavior: Strategies for Parents and Teachers.”

The presenter is Melanie Fernandez, Ph.D., ABPP, a clinical psychologist with expertise in treating kids’ behavioral problems. Dr. Fernandez is especially well-versed in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, and she’s the director of Child Mind Institute’s Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) Program. PCIT is a fascinating technique where parents are coached (behind a one-way mirror and while wearing an earpiece) by experts as they’re playing with their child and given specific suggestions on how to monitor and reinforce their child’s positive behaviors, ignore mild negative ones, and give commands with calm, consistent follow-through.

To watch the hour-long presentation, go to CMI’s Facebook page at 12 p.m. on Friday, where you can post questions for Dr. Fernandez and chat with fellow attendees.

In the meantime, check out all of the events happening around the country through Saturday, May 12, as part of Speak Up For Kids. Mental health professionals in 48 states (and 14 countries!) are leading free talks on childhood mental health disorders and topics of concern to all parents including ADHD, anxiety, depression, behavioral challenges, bullying, trauma, and online safety. Check here for events near you. And for those of you in the New York City area, consider tomorrow’s talk at the 92nd Street Y: “Parenting 2.0: Raising Healthy Children in a Digital Age.” Steven Dickstein, M.D., pediatric psychopharmacologist at CMI, will discuss how much and what kind of exposure is appropriate for kids, and give parents pointers on how to manage children’s screen (and phone!) time, monitor social media participation, and protect them from cyberbullies. It’s free; RSVP at elissa.verrilli@childmind.org.

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