By Dr. Melissa Rector, Psychiatrist – Behavioral Health
Mental health is an important aspect of any child’s social and cognitive development, but there are a couple of myths floating around about children’s behavioral health. We debunk them below.
Myth 1: Mental health disorders are rarely found in children.
Fact: It is estimated that as many as one in five children has a diagnosable mental health disorder which significantly interferes with daily life. Most children start showing symptoms at a young age, between seven and 11 years old (NCCP). Many children are not diagnosed and treated because the symptoms can be tricky to diagnose. Often, physical conditions can mask or distract from an underlying mental health issue.
Myth 2: Ignore the behavior/symptom and it will go away.
Fact: While some children outgrow behaviors and symptoms that interfere with development, some symptoms don’t go away. The earlier mental/behavioral health issues can be identified, the better.
The goal is to provide our kids with skills that can help them learn to constructively manage their tendencies – because, chances are, these skills will be helpful throughout their life. The sooner they have access to resources that help them learn to handle themselves and their minds, the greater the chance that they’ll grow into healthy and functional adults. Physical health is as important as mental health.