It goes without saying that one of a parent’s top priorities is to ensure the good health of their child. We often equate this with a child’s physical well-being – whether they are protected from viruses and diseases, how well their anatomy is working, whether they are growing and thriving. But another vitally important part of our children’s health is found in the status of their mental wellness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five children in the United States will experience some sort of mental health condition during any given year. And fully half of adults with kids say they are concerned about their children’s mental state, according to the American Psychiatric Association. This has only been exacerbated because of COVID. A joint declaration from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Children’s Hospital Association states that “… we have witnessed soaring rates of mental health challenges among children, adolescents, and their families over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
These findings are incredibly troubling and serve as markers of the challenging times we live in. But the good news is that, as a society, we have grown in our awareness of the need to tend to not only the physical but also the mental component of our kids’ health.
May is designated as “National Mental Health Awareness Month.” It was first commemorated in 1949 when Clifford Whittingham Beers – National Committee for Mental Health Hygiene founder and himself a victim of mental illness and psychological distress – recognized the importance of bringing awareness and understanding of conditions of the mind.
Over the past several decades, medical professionals, therapists, and laypeople have worked diligently to dispel the stigma surrounding mental health. As a result of initiatives like National Health Awareness Month, people have begun to understand that the need for treatment is just as important for someone who is wrestling with something like depression or anxiety as it is for someone who is confronted with heart disease or diabetes.
Thankfully, mental disorders can be treated and managed. We have curated a list of CDC-recommended resources for those with children suffering with their mental well-being. The following is not a comprehensive list nor does it supplant the advice of your own medical provider. But we hope it will provide some assistance to parents who are on a wellness journey with their child.
If you have concerns about a child, you can use these resources to help you find a healthcare provider familiar with treatment options:
- Psychologist Locator, a service of the American Psychological Association (APA) Practice Organization.
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder, a research tool by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
- Find a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, a search tool by the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
- If you need help finding treatment facilities, visit MentalHealth.gov
- CDC’s Children’s Mental Health
- CDC’s Child Development
- CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” Campaign
- CDC’s Legacy for Children™
- CDC’s Mental Health
- CDC’s Positive Parenting Tips
- CDC’s Safety and Children with Disabilities
- CDC’s Youth Tobacco Prevention
- CDC’s Emergency Preparedness: Mind Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Programs | SAMHSA
- Screening and Brief Intervention for Substance Use Disorders | SAMHSA
- Tourette Association of America | TAA
Resources Available through Fairmont Schools:
Fairmont Schools is dedicated to helping students thrive not only academically, but personally. Teachers receive extensive training in social-emotional learning to help attend to the overall well-being of their students.
Jill Thomas, our on-staff Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, works in tandem with parents, teachers, campus leadership, and academic counselors to help identify both academic and personal challenges that may be preventing a student from achieving their personal best. She has been serving students and families at Fairmont for two decades.
“My most rewarding motivation comes from watching the growth in terms of self-confidence and overall contentment I see in the students I am privileged to work with,” says Ms. Thomas. “Families giving me the opportunity to learn about their personal lives and collaborating with them to create an emotionally healthy space where students feel safe to learn about themselves and their relationship to others around them is meaningful to me.”
Ms. Thomas has led the charge at Fairmont in fostering a culture where respect and kindness are nurtured. She authored “The Fairmont Code” – an expectation of our students, parents, teachers, and administrators – which codifies a commitment to make Fairmont a “safe environment where all members of our community show respect and kindness to one another and protect and honor each other’s rights, dignity, and individual differences.”
In addition to working one-on-one with members of the Fairmont community, Ms. Thomas conducts information sessions and webinars about relevant and timely mental health topics for parents of school-age children. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University.
She stands ready to assist those in need. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.