Mental health is a phrase that is used more frequently in conversations, on television, and on social media. But what exactly is mental health? Mental health is how we describe our social and emotional well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. Children and adolescents need good mental health to build positive relationships, adapt to change, and handle life’s challenges. It is also critical for making responsible decisions and finding success in school and life.
Children and teenagers with good mental health feel good about themselves, have healthy relationships with family and friends, get involved in activities, and are physically active.
The following are some signs that your child may need mental health help:
• often seems sad or withdrawn
• has on-going fears
• is having difficulty making or keeping friends
• has had his/her grades drop
• has problems sleeping
• has had a change in behavior such as being more aggressive or defiant.
In addition to these signs, pre-teens and teenagers may also:
• feel hopeless or tearful
• have difficulty coping with “life”
• avoid friends
• say he/she is sick
• seem anxious about their appearance
What can we do to improve and maintain good mental health in our children and teens? Talk to your child daily. Show interest in what is happening in their life at school and with friends. Listen to their feelings, concerns, worries, and fears. Make sure they know that you love them and support them. Help them handle situations and problems as they come up instead of letting them get bigger. If you are still concerned about your child’s or teenager’s mental health, seek help. We have school social workers available. There are also mental health professionals that specialize in working with children/teens. The articles below were helpful in writing this and contain additional information that may be useful.
Supporting Children's Mental Health Tips for Parents and Educators
Tips to Promote Social-Emotional Health Among Teens
Keeping our students mentally and physically healthy is essential to their success in school and life.
Allison Schmidt, Superintendent