May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S.
Mental health is a vital area of a child or teen’s overall health that needs to be cultivated, addressed and treated when needed.
Unfortunately, mental health challenges have been on the rise in the U.S. for the last decade. In a recent public advisory called “Protecting Youth Mental Health,” the U.S. Surgeon General reported that one in three high school students and half of the female students described persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019 — an overall increase of 40% from 2009.
The advisory explained that these upward trends may be caused by young people becoming more willing to openly discuss mental health concerns; the growing use of media; more academic and social pressures; limited access to mental health care; alcohol and drug abuse; and national and global stressors like financial crises, rising income inequality, racism, gun violence and climate change.
How parents can help their kids with mental health challenges
The good news is that families can help their kids improve their mental health by practicing self-care, encouraging healthy habits, having open communication, accessing help from community resources and seeking extra support when needed.
To assist families in combatting the youth mental health crisis, CHOC is committed to providing valuable information, resources and advice from pediatric experts. This includes an ever-growing library of topical mental health articles from CHOC experts, free educational webinars on mental health topics and a robust mental health toolkit to help parents navigate challenges with their kids of any age.
CHOC’s mental health guides
CHOC has rounded up useful articles, resources and frequently asked questions into “ultimate guides” on six timely topics: suicide prevention, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, bullying and ADHD. This way, you can find all the valuable information your family needs in one place.
Here, we’ve mapped out how you can access CHOC’s mental health guides:
The suicide prevention guide offers an overview; warning signs to look for; advice on how to help a friend; tips for teens and kids; a download on conversation starters; and recommended further reading.
CHOC’s guide on eating disorders includes frequently asked questions; tips for kids and caregivers; a featured podcast from CHOC experts; and other related articles.
In the guide on anxiety, families can find an overview of anxiety; tips for caregivers and kids; recommended books for kids, teens and parents; and related articles on anxiety.
CHOC’s guide on depression includes an overview of depression; tips for kids and adults; recommended reading; and helpful other articles.
CHOC’s guide on bullying explains its definition; offers anti-bullying tips to children and teens; provides advice to parents of children who are being bullied; and recommends books and relevant CHOC articles.
The guide on ADHD includes an overview of ADHD; information on sleep disruption and ADHD; tips for parents and caregivers; tips for kids and teens; and recommended guides, books and articles.
More mental health resources from CHOC
Each guide also includes crisis resources, external resources and how to find a mental health provider. Visit the mental health guide overview page for more information on each topic.
In addition to CHOC’s written resources, CHOC’s Mental Health Education Program (MHEP) offers free webinars from CHOC experts to parents on a variety of relevant mental health subjects. To view upcoming webinars, view the MHEP events calendar. You can also watch all recently aired MHEP webinars in the archive here.
For more health and wellness resources from the pediatric experts at CHOC, sign up for the Kids Health newsletter.
How to prevent and treat respiratory illnesses this season
Unfortunately, many kids get infected with respiratory illnesses in the fall and winter seasons. CHOC experts highly encourage all eligible members of households to receive their annual flu shots. Other preventative measures like good hygiene and staying home when sick can help protect families from illness. The following articles and guides provide more information.
The mental health team at CHOC curated the following resources on mental health topics common to kids and teens, such as depression, anxiety, suicide prevention and more.