Child and adolescent mental health concerns: We're here for you

5/31/2016 by Rachel Lynch, MD

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Mental health concerns arise frequently during childhood and adolescence. More than one out of five adolescents will meet criteria for a mental health disorder, which can cause significant impairment or distress in their lives.

In children and teens, symptoms of mental health issues include headaches or stomachaches; behavior, academic or sleep problems; or changes in their eating habits. Sometimes children may even have difficulty attending school or enjoying time with friends.

It can be difficult for parents to know when mood or behavior changes or children’s worries represent a normal part of their child’s development and when it is something more serious. As providers, we know these concerns are so common and so important that we screen for mental health problems at various developmental stages and well-child visits.

As a parent, if you’re concerned about your child or teen’s mental health, Employee and Community Health (ECH) providers are here for you. We recognize the impact that mental health issues have on your child’s well-being, as well as relationships with their family and friends. Nurses, social workers, psychologist and psychiatrists from Pediatric Integrative and Behavioral Health are working together with your primary care team to provide the best care for your child and your family when these concerns arise.

Dr. Rachel Lynch is a consultant in Employee and Community Health's (ECH) Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (CPAM). She has been on the national teaching faculty for the REACH Institute since March 2013 and a member of the Steering Committee for the REACH Institute's Primary Pediatric Psychopharmacology Course since September 2014.