Summer is wrapping up, and many students are getting back in the swing of things with school.
If the thought of going back to school fills your child or student with dread and anxiety, they're not alone.If something just doesn't "feel right" and your child isn't sure why, he may be dealing with a mental health condition.
Did you know that half of all mental health disorders begin by the age of 14, and about 75 percent begin by the age of 24? But it's also important to know that mental health issues are common and treatable.
Stress and loneliness can also impact your child's school year. While you aren't necessarily dealing with bills, difficult bosses, and frustrating commutes, there are plenty of situations that can cause stress. Things like getting good grades, preparing for the future, loneliness and body appearance all are things that can cause stress.
When your child's stress starts impacting sleep or what she is eating; when she can't brush away that sad feeling – it could be something more serious. It's also normal to feel lonely sometimes, but when a child feels lonely a lot, it can affect them in a number of ways.
Research shows that chronic loneliness can translate to poor sleep, high blood pressure, greater risk of suicidal ideation, and even alcohol and drug use.
There are many tools and resources to help increase your understanding of your child or student's stress and loneliness and there are materials on the topic for you, parents, and school personnel.
A child should not suffer in silence! It's important to know the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and seek help.
Free, confidential, and anonymous screening tools are available at www.MHAScreening.org to check in on a child's symptoms and to find resources to help.
While no child gets to choose what happens to them, you can choose how you respond.
Learn more at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/back-school. This school year enable you child to make smart choices about how to deal with stress and loneliness - and learn why their mental health matters.
Just like physical health, taking care of mental health struggles early can help to prevent more serious problems from developing in the future.
If you are concerned that someone close to you or someone you know may be experiencing a mental health problem, it is important to act before Stage 4. Start the conversation. Seek help from a trusted adult. Remember there is nothing to be ashamed of and that there is help and hope.
Don't know how to start the conversation? MHA has tips and information to help get you started at bit.ly/tips4talking.
There are also serious signs that someone is in crisis and needs more immediate help. These include thoughts or plans of hurting oneself or another person. If you or someone you know is in crisis call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "MHA" to 741741, or call 911.