With the recent heart-wrenching images of migrant children in the news, there is an increased awareness of the unique mental health needs of migrant and refugee children. Since 1980, there have been about 3 million refugees who have resettled in the US and 35-40% of them were children, according to the organization Bridging Refugee Youth & Child Services. Being exposed to a range of physical and psychological stressors places these refugee children at higher risk for physical and mental health issues requiring treatment. Sadly, research cited by the National Institutes of Health has found that refugees are less likely to seek mental health treatment. This could be due to a lack of understanding of mental illness and treatment options in general, and the fact that it is often more difficult for refugee children to access the mental health services they need.
Think about the last time you were hungry. Maybe you were busy at work and lost track of time or you were running errands and put off eating until you got back home. Whatever the reason was, it probably left you feeling irritable and cranky until you were able to eat. Often when we’re hungry, all we can think about it food.
As a psychotherapist, I’ve seen what it like is to be a concerned parent of a child with a mental illness diagnosis. I’ve heard their stories as they sit in my office and tearfully tell me about sleepless nights filled with worry, the stress of going from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment seeking answers, and the struggle of getting their child to comply with treatment.
You’ve noticed some changes in your child or teen and you’re wondering if something more is going on than them just having a rough day. Perhaps their teacher or coach has mentioned something to you about changes in their behavior. Maybe they are having trouble focusing in school, started acting out, crying in school, complaining of a stomach ache or having trouble making friends. Figuring out what is going on with your child can feel overwhelming as a parent. Where do you even start to try to figure out what is happening?
You’ve noticed some changes in your teenage son or daughter’s behavior. They’ve started snapping at you when you ask them a simple question or they respond with a single-word answer. They’ve started spending a great deal of time alone in their room with the door closed and are always on their phone talking, texting, Snapchatting, and messaging with their friends. And they just don’t seem as happy as they used to. You’ve asked them if everything is okay but they always respond with an exasperated sigh that they’re “fine” but you don’t believe them.
Dr. David Rabiner, an expert on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), defines the condition as "a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that occurs in academic, occupational, or social settings." In other words, children with ADHD may have difficulty with staying focused, keeping still, and taking turns
Topics: Getting Treatment