“Visible wounds are relatively easy to recognize.” wrote Susan Newman, PhD. “It’s different when a child begins having problems at school or with friends, or if he or she becomes uncooperative and has inexplicable outbursts. Such occurrences often leave parents feeling confused and unsure about what to do.”
Currently, there are around 14 million children in America who are struggling with a mental disorder; however, not all insurance plans sufficiently cover psychological health. “There is a more universal recognition that we face an epidemic of children’s mental health problems in this country,” said pediatric mental health expert Barry Anton, PhD.
For parents who have children with mental disabilities, it is essential to be aware of the different types of scenarios and dilemmas when it comes to pediatric mental health. For this reason, pediatric psychiatrists are determined in helping parents and children who are going through a rough time.
Here are a couple of facts about pediatric mental health that parents must know according to psychiatry.
- Pediatric Mental Health Is Growing And Requires Adequate Attention
Improving America’s pediatric mental health condition must be one of the parents’ main goals, especially those who have special needs or mentally challenged children. By recognizing that mental health is as vital as overall physical health, parents can adequately address their children’s condition.
Unfortunately, a lot of parents have this notion that psychiatrists or therapists are exaggerating the analysis, psychology, and medication of their kids. And the result is, the majority of kids in this country who are suffering from mental illnesses aren’t getting enough psychiatric help resulting in an untreated condition that can only get worse.
- Insurance Coverage Parity For Mental Health Is A Necessity
If there’s one thing that policymakers must do is to create a consistent correspondence on devoting their concerns to not just pediatric mental health but for mental health in general; this only means that every insurer in the country is required to ensure psychological health services the same way they provide physical illnesses. Though there are people in Congress who are pushing for this to happen, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
- Mental Health Coverage Is Cost-effective
Learning and psychiatric disorders are severely costing the country billions of dollars due to Medicaid, taxes, disability, and lost workdays. As of this moment, according to psychiatric studies, the majority of mental disorders that evolved in adulthood were latent during adolescence and childhood. Focusing on these common mental disorders at the very beginning, even before it progresses, is said to be treatable and cheaper.
What are these common pediatric mental disorders?
- Anxiety Disorders
Considered as the most prevalent type of mental illness, anxiety disorders affect 13% of children within the 9 to 17-year-old bracket. While every child experiences anxiety at some point, there are those who suffer from severe anxiety which is due to fear of parental separation, society, and school.
“When children are chronically anxious, even the most well-meaning parents can fall into a negative cycle and, not wanting a child to suffer, actually exacerbate the youngster’s anxiety. It happens when parents, anticipating a child’s fears, try to protect her from them,” wrote Clark Goldstein, PhD. Severe anxiety during childhood requires medical therapy.
Another common form of mental disorder, clinical depression affects one in 33 kids, and as for adolescents, it’s one in eight. Depression may make children feel hopeless, helpless, and worthless. Aside from those bottled-up emotions, kids are also lethargic, socially withdrawn, moody, and irritable. Depression with troubled teens that have poor support system can lead to suicide ideations.
- Learning Disabilities
Some of the most common learning disabilities in children are auditory processing disorder (APD), dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyslexia, and visual-motor or perceptual deficit. These learning disabilities are not easily overcome without the help of trained therapists. If not treated, impairments will disrupt healthy living and coping once kids turn to adults.
Early identification of pediatric mental illnesses can be possible through proper psychological screening like undergoing vision and hearing tests. With adequate research funding from the government and by allocating resources to train and hire child psychiatrists, mental health problems in children can be quickly evaluated and treated so as not to be carried into adulthood.