Monday, May 24, 2021

PRESS RELEASE: Manning Regional Healthcare Center Recognizes Mental Health Struggles in Youth

Did you know that 17% of youth ages 6-17 experience a mental health disorder? In recognition of Mental Health month, Manning Regional Healthcare Center (MRHC) aims to raise awareness of mental health struggles among youth.

“Over the last year, mental health issues have been on the rise in adults and children. The increased use of electronics we have seen could be related to an increase in anxiety and depression in children,” said Dr. Douglas McLaws, DO.

Taking care of children’s physical health needs is common sense to most people, but sometimes recognizing their mental health needs is not as obvious. According to Mental Health America (MHA), good mental health allows children to think clearly, develop socially and learn new skills. Additionally, good friends and encouraging words from adults are all important for helping children develop self-confidence, high self-esteem, and a healthy emotional outlook on life.

It is important to provide the following for a child’s good mental health, according to MHA:

  • Unconditional love from family
  • Nurture confidence and self-esteem
  • The opportunity to play with other children
  • Encouraging teachers and supportive caretakers
  • Safe and secure surroundings
  • Appropriate guidance and discipline

Now that school is out, many children may struggle not having a strict routine, constant supervision and support from teachers and other school staff. To provide a structured and positive environment for children this summer, keep these tips in mind:

  • Encourage new hobbies or learning a new skill
  • Monitor TV/electronic usage (time and content)
  • Create routines
  • Talk about your feelings

MRHC also encourages parents and caretakers to check in with children often to see how they are doing. According to Dr. McLaws, children can manifest their mental health issues differently than adults, so symptoms may not always be obvious. Keep these warning signs in mind and talk with your child if you notice any symptoms:

  • Changes in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxiety
  • Fighting to avoid bed or school
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Continuous disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums 

“We encourage routine visits with your primary care provider to assess any mental health issues,” reminded McLaws. If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, call MRHC at (712) 655-2072 to schedule a well-child exam.

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