Mental Health Focus—Children and Adolescents’ Mental Health Matters

Join the Santa Catalina Catholic Church Mental Health Ministry as it presents its March Mental Health Focus. Danielle Trujillo, Director of Clinical Services at Sonora Behavioral Health, will be presenting on mental health in children and adolescents. The presentation will be at 14380 N. Oracle Rd. on March 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. and March 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. The same presentation will be made twice, so feel free to attend the session that is convenient for your schedule.

Children’s mental health matters. Just as you can help prevent a child from catching a cold or breaking a bone, you can help prevent a child from having mental health problems. We know what it takes to keep a child physically healthy—nutritious food, exercise, immunizations—but the basics for good mental health aren’t always as clear. The first “basic” is to know that children’s mental health matters. We need to treat a child’s mental health just like we do their physical health, by giving it thought and attention and, when needed, professional help.

Know the signs. If there is concern that a child may be experiencing a mental health problem, it is important for adults to seek help from a doctor or mental health professional. Just like with physical illness, treating mental health problems early may help prevent a more serious illness from developing in the future. Consider consulting a professional if a child you know shows the following signs:

* Marked fall in school performance

* Poor grades in school despite trying very hard

* Severe worry or anxiety, as shown by regular refusal to go to school, go to sleep, or take part in activities that are normal for the child’s age

* Frequent physical complaints

* Marked changes in sleeping and/or eating habits

* Extreme difficulties in concentrating that get in the way at school or at home

* Sexual acting out

* Depression shown by sustained, prolonged negative mood and attitude, often accompanied by poor appetite, difficulty sleeping, or thoughts of death

* Severe mood swings

* Strong worries or anxieties that get in the way of daily life, such as at school or socializing

* Repeated use of alcohol and/or drugs