Mental Health Awareness Month: A Parent’s Guide

The month of May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to dive into the challenges our young ones face and the resources available to them. Over two years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry declared a national emergency in youth mental health. Since then, awareness has grown, emphasizing that seeking mental health treatment is a necessary step, not a sign of weakness.

The Reality of Growing Up Today

Today’s youth navigate a minefield of challenges. The AAP highlights the pressures teens endure:

  • Overwhelming pressure to figure out their future, get good grades, or gain admission to elite colleges and universities
  • The need to be superstars in sports, the performing arts, or other extracurriculars
  • Tough schedules that don’t allow enough time for self-care such as rest, relaxation, and unstructured fun
  • Confronting bullying, whether face-to-face or online.
  • Persistent fears about climate change, global conflict, and other weighty issues
  • Discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, weight, religion, disability, or other factors
  • Problems related to poverty or lack of money for safe, stable housing and enough nutritious food

Recognizing Signs of Struggle

Recognizing signs of mental health struggles in your child is critical. The AAP outlines indicators to watch for:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability and anger
  • Notable changes in sleep, weight, eating habits or other everyday patterns
  • Loss of interest in the things they usually love or quitting activities that they enjoy
  • Withdrawing more than usual from friends, family, and community
  • Canceling plans with their closest friends with little or no explanation
  • Academic struggles that seem different or more intense. For example, failing quizzes in their favorite subject or refusing to do homework that once would have seemed easy
  • Racing thoughts or worries that won’t leave them alone
  • A new set of friends you’ve never met before
  • Refusing to talk about what’s bothering them, even after you’ve made it as safe as possible to openly discuss hard issues
  • Obsession with a certain goal, possibly with the belief that if they don’t achieve it, their life will never be the same
  • Signs of drug, alcohol, or other substance use
  • Signs of self-harm such as cuts, burns, bruises, etc. that your teen tries to hide or can’t explain fully and credibly
  • Sexual activity or interest that seems new or more intense than before

You’re Not Alone

Although the statistics may seem daunting, remember that many families face similar challenges. Conditions like ADHD, anxiety, and depression are prevalent among youth:

  • ADHD affects almost 10% of children aged 3-17.
  • Approximately 9.5% of youth experience anxiety that interferes with daily life.
  • Depression impacts the lives of around 4.5% of children.

Support from Mentallus

At Mentallus, we understand the complexities of navigating youth mental health issues. Our team provides personalized care and guidance, whether your child is dealing with ADHD, anxiety, depression, or other challenges. Let’s navigate Mental Health Awareness Month together and ensure our children have the support they need to thrive. You’re not alone—Mentallus is here to help you every step of the way!

Who is Mentallus?

Mentallus is a leader in creating pathways for parents with children struggling with behavioral or mental health issues. Our mission is simple yet profound: to empower parents with the tools and resources they need to confidently navigate their children’s mental health journeys. We want you to feel supported, heard, and equipped to face whatever comes your way.

Have questions or are looking for more tips? Let’s chat! We offer FREE consultations that you can schedule below.


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