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Child COUNSELING Therapy phoenix, Scottsdale Arizona

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

I recall having a sweet, intelligent, ten year old in my office years ago who attempted suicide. Yes a ten year old. The child was not abused and had friends and did well academically. The good news is the child made it, however, suicide is on the rise and we must be aware so we can protect our children. The child had very negative thinking and extremely low self esteem. The child was critical and judgmental and was beating up on their self.

How do you know if your child or teen is at risk of developing a mental illness or at risk of suicide? Your child may:

Show typical signs such as a depressed mood, but often the signs of mental illness can be subtle. This is particularly true during the teenage years when it can be difficult to tell the difference between typical adolescent behavior’s and symptoms of mental illness.

A child may have less interest in activities he or she used to enjoy.

A child may have issues with concentration, increased or decreased sleep, decreased energy, or changes in appetite.

A child may show a dip in grades and school performance.

A child or teen may spend more time alone and less time with friends, or start using :marijuana, alcohol, vaping, popping pills not prescribed etc.

Relationships that break up can create a depressed mood and sometimes suicidal thoughts. Conflict with friends and fighting with family members can ooze into negative thoughts and depressed mood. Coming to terms with ones sexuality can impact mood and depression as well as negative thinking. Cyberbullying, divorce, having a parent not involved in one’s life and family relationships are big stressors. School bullying either verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual can happen and impacts mood in a negative way at times.

 

Children and teens with any mental illness : ADHD, ODD, Anxiety , etc or more are prone to depression and suicide more so than those without a mental health diagnosis.

 

There are many more behaviors and activities beyond what is written that can signal depressed mood like poor eating habits, too much sleep or too little sleep, avoiding family and friends, loss of pleasure in once enjoyed activities and MANY MANY MORE.

 

Youth live in a world dominated by technology: video games, texting, social media, snapchat, instagram, etc.. Research shows that children need quality time with their parents without technology.

 

There are many studies that link high levels of media time with mental health issues. Below is a study that looked at almost one half a million children.

“Headed by a psychologist from San Diego State University, researchers parsed the results of national surveys whose questions delved into the mental health of 500,000 young people between the ages of 13 and 18.

The findings, published last November in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, suggested that increased screen time may indeed contribute to, or worsen, adolescents’ feelings of alienation and loneliness. This proved to be particularly true of girls, whose screen time skews to social media platforms, with their highly visible currency of accumulated “likes.” Boys tend to gravitate to online games, the study said, where prowess is valued over looks or personality. Overall, increased screen time equaled increased feelings of depression.”

Mental health has many components: adequate sleep and a good eating schedule with quality foods. Feeling safe and having someone to talk to one on one. A child should exercise daily at least 45 minutes at a minimum. Having friends is vital for mental health for teens and adults.

 

Articles are not to be taken as a substitute for professional advice or counseling.