BeWell 4Kids: children's mental health matters

Doctor's advice, Staying mentally healthy / Sanitas Medical Center

Recognizing and addressing children's mental health challenges early is essential for preventing problems later in life. Know the signs and where to get help.

BeWell 4Kids: children's mental health matters

Focusing on children's mental health can create a brighter, healthier future for the next generation. The BeWell 4Kids program at Sanitas Medical Center is here to support families every step of the way, ensuring every child can thrive. 

Key takeaways 

  • Mental health is crucial for a child's overall development and future well-being. 
  • Good mental health helps children build essential social, emotional, and cognitive skills. 
  • The BeWell 4Kids program at Sanitas Medical Center supports children's mental and behavioral health. 
  • The BeWell 4Kids program offers collaboration with primary care providers, parental involvement, and easy access to mental health services. 
  • Early diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues can prevent long-term problems. 

 

The importance of mental health in children 

Mental health refers to how we think, feel, and act. For children, good mental health is crucial as it influences their overall development, including their social skills, emotional management, and ability to handle life's challenges. Children with strong mental health are more likely to be happy, perform well in school, and form positive relationships. Without proper support, mental health issues can persist into adulthood, affecting their future well-being and success. Therefore, understanding and addressing children's mental health early is essential for their long-term development and happiness. 

 

Common mental health issues in children 

Children can face various mental health challenges, including anxiety, depression, and difficulties with social interactions and self-esteem. These issues can stem from different sources, such as family problems, bullying, or traumatic events. Recognizing and addressing these challenges early is essential for preventing more severe problems later in life. 

 

The role of Parents and Caregivers 

Parents and caregivers play a vital role in a child's mental health. They are often the first to notice changes in their child's behavior or mood. Providing a supportive environment where children feel safe to express their feelings is crucial.  

Studies show that children with parents who struggle with mental health issues are more likely to have poor general health, face similar mental challenges, and have negative experiences such as exposure to violence or family disruptions.1   

In other words, parents need to take care of their mental health to support their children's well-being. If you notice any of the following symptoms in yourself or your child:

  • Sleeping issues
  • Appetite changes
  • Low motivation
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Low mood
  • Feeling very afraid
  • Uncontrollable nervousness and anxiety
  • Body aches due to stress
  • Crying spells or constant sadness

It's important to consider reaching out to a professional for assistance. Mental health disorders can impact physical health, but effective treatments such as counseling and medications are available. Seeking help is a proactive step towards improving well-being and should be approached without shame or hesitation. Your support and understanding can make a significant difference in managing and overcoming these challenges.

 

How to support your child's mental health 

Supporting a child's mental health involves creating a nurturing and stable environment where they feel safe and valued. By being attentive and proactive, parents can help ensure their child’s mental health is supported and strong. Being involved in their activities and interests helps you stay connected and aware of any changes in their behavior. Here are some tips to help you support your child(ren):  

  1. Encourage open communication: Listen to your child's thoughts and feelings without judgment and validate their emotions. Make sure they know they can talk to you about anything. 
  2. Promote healthy habits:  Ensure your child gets enough sleep, eats a balanced diet, and exercises regularly. Physical health is closely linked to mental health. 
  3. Foster positive social interactions: Help your child build and maintain friendships. Engage them in family activities. Participate in your child's activities and show interest in their life.  
  4. Model healthy coping strategies and resilience: Help them learn how to manage stress and challenges effectively. 

 

Signs of mental health issues in children 

Early diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues are critical. Without intervention, children with mental health problems can face difficulties at home, in school, and in forming friendships. Early treatment can help prevent these issues from becoming more serious. 

Recognizing mental health issues in children can vary by age group. Different age groups exhibit distinct signs that may indicate the need for professional help. Parents and caregivers should look for: 

School-Age Children (6-12 years) 

  • Academic Decline: Sudden drop in grades or loss of interest in school. 
  • Social Withdrawal: Avoiding friends, family, and social activities they used to enjoy. 
  • Persistent Worry or Anxiety: Constant worrying or expressing fears that are out of proportion to the situation. 
  • Physical Complaints: Frequent headaches, stomachaches, or other unexplained physical issues. 

Adolescents (13-18 years) 

  • Changes in Sleep Patterns: Insomnia or sleeping excessively. 
  • Substance Use: Experimenting with or using drugs or alcohol. 
  • Mood Swings: Intense or rapid changes in mood, including irritability and anger. 
  • Risky Behaviors: Engaging in dangerous activities or taking unnecessary risks. 
  • Expressing Hopelessness: Talking about feeling hopeless, worthless, or having thoughts of self-harm or suicide. 

If you notice any of these signs, it's important to seek help from a mental health program like the BeWell 4Kids program at Sanitas to ensure your child receives the necessary support and care. Early intervention can significantly improve outcomes and the child's ability to thrive. 

 

BeWell 4Kids: Supporting children's mental health 

Sanitas Medical Center understands the importance of mental health in children and offers the BeWell 4Kids program. This program is designed to support children's mental and behavioral health, ensuring they have the best start in life.  

  1. Collaboration with Primary Care Providers: BeWell 4Kids works with Sanitas primary care providers to screen for common mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and issues with social interactions and self-esteem. Early detection is key to providing timely support. 
  2. Parental Involvement: The program emphasizes the importance of parental involvement. Parents are seen as full partners in their child's treatment, ensuring that the family is involved in the healing process. 
  3. Support for Social Determinants of Health (SDOH): BeWell 4Kids collaborates with child-serving systems and agencies to address factors that affect children's health, such as family income, education, and access to healthcare. 
  4. Access to Care: The program makes it easier for parents and caregivers to access mental health services for both themselves and their children. This holistic approach ensures that the whole family is supported. 

 

Getting started with BeWell 4Kids 

Mental health is a vital part of a child's overall well-being. By understanding and supporting their mental health, we can help children build a strong foundation for a healthy and successful future. The BeWell 4Kids program at Sanitas Medical Center offers comprehensive support to ensure children and their families receive the care they need. Remember, it's okay to ask for help, and taking care of mental health is just as important as physical health. 

If your child is struggling, call to request a Sanitas BeWell 4Kids appointment: Florida 1-844-665-4827, New Jersey 1-833-617-0501, Tennessee Nashville 1-866-378-5362 and Memphis 1-866-364-8944. 

Or book with your Sanitas doctor to see if this treatment is right for you. 

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1 Wolicki, S. B., Bitsko, R. H., Cree, R. A., Danielson, M. L., Ko, J. Y., Warner, L., & Robinson, L. R. (2021). Mental health of parents and primary caregivers by sex and Associated Child Health Indicators. Adversity and Resilience Science,2(2), 125–139