A Time to Recognize Children’s Mental Health
Published: October 29, 2018 by Dr. Aimee Drescher
Back to School: A Time to Recognize Children’s Mental Health
As we write this, we’re several weeks into a new school year, and by now most students have settled into their new routines, gotten comfortable with their new teachers, and maybe even made a few new friends. Some young people, though, might still be struggling with their new environments, and their difficulties adjusting could indicate a more serious problem. Teachers, parents, and other caregivers can all play a role in identifying behavioral and emotional challenges in children, and together with Unison Health, we can help these kids find a path to a more well-adjusted school experience.
What Are the Signs of Behavioral and Emotional Challenges in Young People?
For children and teens, school is often the place where the signs of emotional and behavioral health challenges become apparent, and the beginning of a new school year can often be the precipitating event. “When a young person is placed in a new environment, where they’re coping with new surroundings, peers and different stimuli, we often see behavioral and emotional challenges come to a head. They manifest themselves in a number of ways, both outwardly — in terms of behavior toward others — and inwardly, in terms of their ability to self-regulate and their own self-esteem, ” says Dr. Aimee Drescher, Director of Psychological Services at Unison Health.,
Teachers may note that some students are inattentive, disrespectful of authorities, or engaging in disruptive behavior in the classroom. They may have low energy or lack basic organization skills. They may hit or bully other students or act out in impulsive ways — or they may be the victim of bullying themselves.
Parents, who tend to be even more closely attuned to their child’s moods and activities, may notice somewhat more subtle signs of emotional challenges. If a child seems more isolated or withdrawn than usual, is more easily distracted, or demonstrates changes in appetite, these could indicate a problem that goes beyond standard growing pains. Of course, if a young person demonstrating low self-esteem engages in self-harm, or talks about suicide, caregivers should seek medical attention immediately.
Children’s Behavioral Health Services at Unison Health
As we said earlier, everyone can do their part to help address emotional and behavioral challenges in young people and get them on the path to a brighter future. Unison Health provides a wide range of services designed to meet the specific needs of elementary, middle school, and high school students throughout the greater Toledo area.
We offer school-based programming in several Toledo Public Schools that can help improve students’ classroom performance and encourage emotional self-control. We encourage each child to identify their interests and abilities, as well as develop organizational skills, and in doing so they are better equipped to make good decisions and resolve conflicts in ways that use their own unique strengths. This programming runs on the Toledo Public School calendar and is offered in a number of schools, 5 days per week. Office-based services are also available when school is closed.
In addition, Unison Health’s Psychology Department offers a wide range of testing, including psychological and neuropsychological evaluation for young people, and we can assist parents and caregivers as they seek to understand these processes. Some restrictions may apply; please consult with a Unison Health representative for more information.
For children age 3-18 who can benefit from medication in the treatment of an identified psychiatric disorder, Unison Health offers a medication management program. Young people who present with symptoms consistent with a psychiatric disorder can receive the necessary evaluation and continuous monitoring necessary to ensure optimal results.
As parents and caregivers, we want the children in our care to flourish. However, it can sometimes be difficult to determine when behavior crosses the line from the normal stresses of youth and adolescence into serious behavioral health concerns. If you’re worried about a young person in your life, don’t hesitate to contact Unison Health to learn more about our children’s behavioral health services. Call 419-214-HOPE today to learn more.