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Blog, In the News

Mental Health Awareness Month – Op Ed

May 31, 2022

As National Mental Health Awareness Month comes to an end, it is important to remember that mental health IS health. The wellbeing of our society depends on all of us to continue conversations and provide safe spaces for people to be their authentic selves.

At Family & Children’s Place, we have created those safe spaces for children, teens and adults to navigate the challenges in their lives, with a trained and compassionate therapist. But therapy is not the only way to address mental health needs. Through our early childhood programs and school-based services, families and their children can work with professionals to tackle problems head on, anticipate struggles that could arise in the future and make plans to equip themselves with tools and resources for the rest of their lives.

One of the most important things we can do to support our mental health and initiatives throughout our community is to remove the stigma surrounding it. Especially throughout the events all of us have lived through in recent years, concern for our mental and emotional wellbeing are nothing to be ashamed of. It is also true that by taking care of our own mental health, we are able to see those around us more clearly, including our children.

Signs of emotional distress can display differently in children, teens and adolescents and it is everyone’s responsibility to help the children and youth in our families and in our community. Sudden or uncharacteristic withdrawal from important, trusted adults can be a sign of depression in teens. While in adults, we may see complete withdrawal, youth often still put on a brave face and continue social interactions with friends but may pull away from parents and other adults in their lives. Changes in sleep patterns, friend groups or personality can also be signs that a child is experiencing mental health issues.

The best thing we can do for the children and youth in our lives is to cultivate a safe and open relationship with them so they can feel comfortable expressing themselves fully including fears or concerns, without criticism and judgement. When professional help is needed, Family & Children’s Place, along with many other wonderful agencies, organizations and community partners, can provide the support necessary or direct you to the right place.

Mental health IS health and it is time for all of us to recognize the importance of access to programs and services that   provide the support and space to work through issues and live our best lives.