Mental Health and Your Child
Mental Health and Your Child. Harvard Psychologist Warns Parents: Be Your Child's Best Advocate
(I-Newswire) September 30, 2010 - This summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) issued a new recommendation, requiring that Pediatricians now screen children for possible mental health issues at every doctor visit.
Dr. Ellen Braaten, Director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment program (LEAP) at Massachusetts General Hospital and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, explains: “The notion that pediatricians should be screening for mental health issues at every visit has been a long time coming.
Given the fact that mental health issues commonly occur in children - and the fact that suicide is third leading cause of death in adolescents (accounting for 10% of all deaths in teenagers in the U.S.) - screening for these issues early and regularly is key. “
“However,” Braaten adds, “parent’s education and knowledge about mental health and children is essential. Knowing when, where and how to get treatment is key.”
Adjusting to the new school year can be a time of stress for both students and parents. For some children, a new school year means they are repeating the same struggles they have had in the past; for others, the challenges of a an advanced grade, new teachers, or an unfamiliar environment can lead to new and unforeseen problems and adjustments.
Braaten believes that parents very often identify that their child might be in need of help, but frequently do not know where to to seek help, what steps to take or even what to ask or explain to the doctor.
Braaten’s latest book, “How to Find Mental Health Care for Your Child” finally gives parents an easy to understand road map defining terms such as cognitive-behavior therapy and mood dysregulation and answering questions such as, how do I get an appropriate diagnosis? What is the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist and social worker?
Published by the American Psychological Association (APA), “How to Find Mental Health Care for Your Child,” is the first book to offer thoughtful, reassuring advice for many parents seeking diagnosis or treatment for their child’s emotional or developmental issues.
“The increase in diagnoses for many mental health illnesses is alarming,” explains Braaten. “Parents need to be informed so that they understand their options and do not get caught up in the current trend to quickly diagnose and medicate.”
“Be your child’s best advocate,” Braaten warns.
For more information about Dr. Braaten’s work, please visit her website at mentalhealthand child.com.
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Published On:September 30, 2010
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