The Importance of Mental Health

Signs to look for mental health issues

Mental health is an important part of overall well-being for children as well as adults. For a young person exhibiting signs of an emotional or behavioral disruption, the earlier treatment is started, the more effective it can be. Behavioral and emotional disruptions are treatable and do not have to stand in the way of a person’s goals and dreams—behavioral and emotional disruptions DO NOT define the person. As Isaac says in Different Kinds of Hurt: Isaac's Story, “Nothing’s gonna get in MY way!”

Mental health warning signs in children

  • Often feels anxious or worried
  • Has frequent stomach aches or headaches with no physical explanation
  • Has trouble sleeping, including frequent nightmares
  • Avoids spending time with friends
  • Has trouble doing well in school, or grades decline
  • Has low or no energy
  • Has spells of intense, inexhaustible activity
  • Engages in self-harming
  • Engages in risky, destructive behavior
  • Has thoughts of suicide

For more... NAMI - Know the Warning Signs

What to do if you suspect a child is struggling with mental health

Who to contact:

  • School Counselor
  • Primary Care Provider
  • MassHealth Mobile Crisis Intervention 1-877-382-1609
  • Parent/Professional Advocacy League

Additional resources: books, websites, films, etc.

  • DMH Resource Guides - The Department of Mental Health publishes several resources guides that help consumers, families and the general public find information about our agency, our services and other statewide services and programs in the mental health community.
  • NAMI Compass - Navigating the mental healthcare system can be complicated—NAMI Compass helps individuals and families affected by mental health issues find their way.
  • Massachusetts Association for Infant Mental Health: Birth to Six, Inc. - Providers and professionals serving young children and families and are dedicated to promoting healthy social and emotional development in the earliest stages and relationships of life.
  • The MGH Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds - Based at Massachusetts General Hospital and led by a team of Harvard Medical School faculty members, The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds is a web-based resource that educates parents and other caregivers about the psychological development and emotional well-being of children, adolescents, and young adults who struggle with behavioral, emotional, and/or learning challenges.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.
  • National Child Traumatic Stress Network - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events.
  • National Institute of Mental Health - The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest biomedical research agency in the world. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • Mayo Clinic - Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing.

Different Kinds of Hurt: Isaac’s Story Parent/Educator Guide, Film, and Book produced by FableVision Studios in partnership with The Mass Department of Mental Health, Walker, Inc. and Express Yourself.

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