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Raising Awareness About Childhood Mental Health

As a parent you are doing your best to support your child’s growth and development.  I think one of the most challenging areas to support is my children’s social emotional development which is part of the larger foundation for their mental health and wellness. Too often the conversation about mental health is after there is already signs of a problem, and identified trauma, stressors or change in the child’s functioning.  I also find that we wait to have the conversation about mental health until our children are entering late elementary, middle or high school. As a team at Play Therapy i.n.c. we believe that addressing childhood mental health starts at birth (and sometimes before birth) and is just as important as physical health.  Addressing mental health includes prevention, identification, and intervention.  Here are a few ideas about each of these areas: PREVENTION:
  • Laying a foundation for the identification, expression, and regulation of emotions
  • Encouraging parents to seek out help for their own challenges
  • Practicing mindfulness and regulation skills
  • Safe, secure, and nurturing relationships between children and caregivers
  • Risk factors that include family history of mental health concerns,
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES)
  • Aggression, harm to self or others, talk about harm to self or others
  • Prolonged temper tantrums
  • Frequent or intense emotional outbursts
  • Rigidity in behaviors
  • Difficulty in new situations
  • Shut down or withdrawn
  • Identification of a traumatic event or chronic stress
  • Develop skills for identification, expression and regulation of emotions
  • Decrease frequency, intensity, and duration of challenging behaviors
  • Parent support and coaching
  • Education and support to address ongoing needs
  • Link to appropriate community resources and level of care
  • Therapy and or parent coaching for caregivers
  • Play Therapy for children