THE AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION reports “50 percent of mental illness begins at age 14, and three quarters begin by age 24.”
THE MAYO CLINIC STUDY reports The deadliness of attempted suicide has been dramatically underestimated.
This study not only demonstrates that suicide prevention efforts should begin before a first suicide attempt, but also supports prevention as being the responsibility of all medical providers, not just mental health professionals.
Let’s start with the old cliché s
It’s always best to start at the beginning.
If many mental health issues are diagnosed in young teens and evidence shows prevention efforts should begin before a suicide attempt why not start at the very beginning. Lets encourage pediatricians to include a mental health questionnaire as part of a child’s yearly physical.
A few questions on family history of mental health issues. Doctors have been asking adults for many years during physicals for family history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes etc.. Why not mental health?
A few questions about the child’s social and emotional skills . The pediatricians ask parents questions from birth to 3 years about eating and sleeping habits because it is imperative for their well-being. Well I say, how they are dealing with their emotions is also imperative to their well-being.
It takes a village to raise a child.
Also a true statement. Let’s take the next step and educate teachers on emotional and social needs for children. A few high schools in this country have just begun to start implementing education on mental health and suicide but its not enough. Every school needs to provide these services. Let’s not wait till high school, let’s start in elementary school
We need to begin normalizing emotions and teach children appropriate ways to deal with them. Not just sending a child to the nurse or school social worker for each incidence.
In the real world we all have to deal with challenges sometimes without warning and can’t just go to a mental health professional at each of those moments. We as adults sometimes need to reach out to others to help us through. Why can’t we teach our kids the same thing? Lead by example
Everyone feels sad, confused, angry etc… at different times this is normal. Showing children that even adults feel this way tells them they are not alone. Children often model behaviors they see , so lets show them effective ways to process their feelings. Social and emotional well-being are of paramount importance.