For many, back-to-school brings with it plenty of excitement. There’s the joy of opening fresh school supplies, the shopping for backpacks and clothes, and the promise of engaging teachers and fun friends. However, when school’s in session, so is an increase of social and academic pressure. In fact, this pressure can easily be observed by looking at the data points that represent the influx of psychiatric ER visits occurring during the school year.
Imagine that your son or daughter has a history of mental illness with occasional, violent outbursts. What if one of those outbursts turns into a life-threatening situation for either you or your child? You may not want to think about it, but it’s a concern for parents of children who exhibit the symptoms of certain mental illnesses. If a day like that came, who would be there for you? How would you handle it? Fortunately, the immediate help you need may be closer than you think.
Topics: Law Enforcement Issues
Ask any Gen-Xer what summertime was like for them as a child, and you’ll hear things like, “Playing outside until the street lamps came on.” And, “Hopping on my bike and riding to the other side of the neighborhood.” Or even, “Hanging out at the community pool while my parents worked.” Compare those answers to the kind that you’d get from kids today, “I’m going to a 3-week overnight camp.” Or, “My parents are scheduling different play dates for me.”
Parental intuition is a powerful force; one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Imagine if you instinctively knew something was wrong with your child, but everywhere you sought out answers – at your child’s school, at the doctor’s office, among family members and your friends – you were brushed off with a simple, “Don’t worry, your child is fine.” That is, until your child clearly isn’t, and is diagnosed with mental illness.
As parents of tweens and teens, we must have so many challenging conversations with our children. We talk to them about the dangers of smoking, alcohol and drugs. We speak to them about their maturing bodies and responsible dating. We talk about limiting their Internet exposure and their screen time. And that’s just a short list. Even with the importance of all of these conversations, there’s one topic that we collectively miss the mark with – the mental health of our children. Amid all of these well-intentioned talks and concerns about other topics, 1 in 5 of our children are experiencing a mental illness. And when the possible outcome of an undiagnosed mental illness can literally be the difference between life and death, it’s not a topic we should or can ignore. The Strong Minds and Happy Hearts program helps bring awareness and the needed attention to this critical issue.
Topics: Getting Treatment
To recognize Mental Health Awareness Month, One in Five Minds is introducing Pinwheels for Change. The colorful and vibrant pinwheels are no ordinary pinwheels, but the stunning creations of 15 renowned San Antonio artists that were inspired to participate in the campaign. These highly visual reminders represent both the dire situation facing children with mental, emotional or behavioral disorders, as well as the change that can come with proper diagnosis and treatment. Senior Vice President at Clarity Child Guidance Center, Rebecca Helterbrand, said pinwheels were selected as symbols because, “Pinwheels evoke powerful imagery of childhood; of gentle breezes and carefree days. The desire is that these happy images provide hope for the 1 in 5 children that experience mental illness. A hope that can only be achieved by raising awareness about mental illness, ending stigma and improving access to care for all children who need it.”