May is Mental Heath Awareness Month, and DePelchin Children's Center is bringing much-needed awareness to the importance of children's mental health. Statistics shows that one in five children will at some point struggle with a mental health issue which can encompass a broad range of concerns. From ADHD and anxiety disorders to mood disorders and trauma, these issues—if left untreated—can diminish a child's quality of life now and into adulthood.
"Mental health issues are as real as a broken bone, and without professional help, they may not heal properly, "says Dr. Lou Ann Mock, DePelchin psychologist. "If parents suspect something is troubling their child, they should not wait to seek help."
Today's treatments are effective, but unfortunately only half of the children struggling with mental health issues receive the support they need. This is due to a number of reasons, including lack of insurance coverage or access to quality providers. However, another reason children do not receive the support they need is because of stigma.
DePelchin is joining other organizations to break through that stigma during the month of May. A giant banner was unveiled today on its Memorial Drive fence-line with a simple message: One in five children will struggle with a mental health issue. DePelchin can help.
For most parents, it's easy to recognize a child's physical needs—a balanced and nutritious diet, a safe and caring home, exercise and regular medical care. When it comes to a child's mental health needs, however, things may not seem as clear. Promoting good mental health allows children to develop social skills, think clearly, build self-esteem and develop a positive mental outlook.
"We hope that the public – especially parents – become more aware of mental health issues and the importance of promoting good mental health within their family," says Mary Kristen Valentine, DePelchin's director of marketing and public relations. "And if they suspect their child is struggling, they get the support they need."