While mental health is a concern for much of the nation, adults aren’t alone. Children and teens are facing many of the same issues.
Kate Stevenson, who has worked as a therapist for more than two decades, said that ever since she was able to help a couple of children with their mental health struggles, she never wanted to stop.
“I immediately realized trauma and anxiety would be a field that I would be involved in for a very long time,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson said it’s important to get children help if they need it.
“Mental health is now considered a huge public health crisis in this country and suicide rates are really going up, and undiagnosed and untreated anxiety is one of many factors,” Stevenson said.
So, when is the best time to step in? According to Stevenson, a parent knows their child best.
And the key indicator? A change in behavior.
“What where they doing before and what are they doing now? In terms of more anger, more difficulty focusing, less patience — that kind of shift in behavior,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson says parents shouldn’t be too invasive or pressure their kids into talking but they should let them know they’re available to help if need be.
“Being available to talk and just letting them know and just checking in, and maybe not asking too many questions but saying, ‘Hey, I know you’re going through a rough time or you’re going through a hard time but I’m here,'” Stevenson said.
And while it may be thoughtful to offer help whenever you sense something is wrong, it’s important not to overwhelm your child, so check in with yourself first before helping others.
“Step one is always to go and get support for yourself, because parents absolutely deserve and need support before they can support their child,” Stevenson said.