Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Rogers Behavioral Health. We are thrilled to bring you helpful content from such a respected local resource.
The holiday season can be more challenging than usual for maintaining and cultivating mental health and wellness. The days are shorter, navigating holiday excitement adds a whole new level of stress, and even environmental factors like less sunlight can affect the mental well-being of even the youngest members of the family.
We reached out to our amazing team of contributors to tell us more about how they navigate mental wellness with their children and connected with the experts at Rogers Behavioral Health to answer the very important question….
What should parents do if they are concerned about a child’s mental health?
Plan Ahead for Challenging Mental Health Seasons
“It took years for me to realize that the changing of seasons is always a trigger for my kiddo. It is amazing to me that this temperature and landscape change triggers her brain and is a reminder of trauma and things she cannot even verbalize. I know how to watch for the triggers at season’s change and to bring her in even closer – to make sure I am connecting well with her. It’s also the time that her therapist and I prepare for and have safeguards in place. I know that if any threats of personal harm happen I am to call the therapist immediately. I know that if any attempt of personal harm happens I take that another step and call Rogers. Thankfully we have been able to learn from years past and put in place tools for a smoother seasonal transition the past couple years but it provides comfort knowing that we have a plan in place and somewhere we can turn to when a higher level of care is needed.” – Charonne G.
Knowing when to seek treatment for a child is something parents should understand, according to Amanda Heins, PsyD, attending psychologist at Rogers Behavioral Health. Dr. Heins explains that parents should watch for “an increase in avoiding school and other basic daily living needs, more power struggles in the morning, no longer socializing, and major changes in behavior.” In school this might result in lower grades, less participation in extracurricular activities, and frequent absences. When the school year takes a pause, underlying issues in kids can progress. And without check-ins from adults with a variety of perspectives, these issues can go unnoticed. Parents can check in on their child’s mental health with some simple strategies.
There are several tools that can be put in place to help transition into the winter season, including methods like a “happy light,” planning a schedule or plan well in advance, limiting the number of unfamiliar settings the family will be experiencing, and more. Working with a mental health professional from Rogers Behavioral Health can be a valuable step toward establishing a mental wellness plan in advance of challenging seasons.
Signs A Child Might Need a Higher Level of Care
“As a mom of kids with mental health needs, I feel like I have to stay on hyper alert to anticipate difficult situations, identify medication side effects and seek services for kids. Juggling all of the appointments and medications could be a full-time job. My kids have so many amazing qualities that can be hidden by their special needs. I hope that I’ve given them enough support and tools so they can be successful and share their whole selves with the world.” – Abby C.
Knowing that mental health is not a one-size-fits-all concept, the experts at Rogers Behavioral Health suggest working in partnership with a trusted provider to create a plan that works for your child and your family. Sometimes, the necessary care extends beyond a particular season. Signs that a child or teen may require intensive outpatient treatment or a higher level of care may include:
- Major changes in behavior: no longer participating in activities that were previously enjoyable
- Not socializing with peers they used to spend time with
- Increased hopelessness or suicidal ideation
- Missing school regularly or a couple times a week
- Extra rituals or routines at home that lead into late hours at night
Be Brave Enough to Seek Help
“Please don’t avoid this resource because you are scared. It’s painful and terrifying to trust these highly trained, qualified people to care for your child and get them the help they need. But, remember – you know your child best. Your support by utilizing these resources when things get dangerous is what your child needs.” – Jill N.
As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child” and sometimes that village needs to include trained mental health professionals who can join forces with parents to bring support, treatment, and guidance to children who need it. Above all, acknowledging that seeking help for mental health needs is a sign of bravery, not weakness, is crucial. Be brave, Mama. And know that the team at Rogers is prepared to provide that next level of care for you and your family.