As a new school year gets underway, Tina Gurnani, MD, a board certified pediatric and adolescent psychiatrist at AdventHealth for Children, recently spoke about the importance of making mental health an important part of the conversation.
Half of all mental health illnesses begin by age 14, yet only one out of three parents regularly discusses mental health with their children, according to AdventHealth research. And for those who suffer, it can take up to 11 years to get a diagnosis and seek treatment.
Dr. Gurnani talked about the increase in children and teenagers seeking treatment for anxiety, panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts and cutting behavior. She also advised parents on what to be on the lookout for throughout the school year.
“Be in tune with your child as to what’s going on in their day-to-day life and what they may be going through," Dr. Gurnani said. "Watch for any shifts in their mood, differences in their engagement with activities or daily life. Things like that would signal the need to dig a little deeper.”
Dr. Gurnani also explained how AdventHealth for Children’s “Be a Mindleader” campaign can spark lifesaving conversations around mental health. “The more Mindleaders we have in our communities, the more we can break down the stigma and help meet kids where they are, support them and bring them to see mental health professionals when needed,” she said.
You can listen to the entire conversation and learn more about how parents can best prepare their children emotionally for the return to school by clicking play below: