One in five minds. That startling statistic is referring to the number of children who suffer from mental illness. For those readers in San Antonio that’s over 80,000 children in Bexar county alone. I don’t know about you but as a mother I find that to be shocking (and quite upsetting). Today we are taking a break from the fashion and talking about a somber topic that is important to me and to probably many other sTORIbook readers… our CHILDREN.
How many times do we have to turn on the news to hear about another shooting at a school done by a teenager? Or a child who has committed suicide after being bullied endlessly? And the primarily culprit in ALL of this… mental illness. It’s time to address this issue.
1 in 2 of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by the age of 14.
Every year in Bexar County 1,300 children were admitted to the hospital ER due to pshychiatric reasons (often no specialized care immediately available).
1 in 4 Bexar County children live in poverty.
50% of children with serious emotional disturbance drops out of high school.
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death from 10-24 year old youth.
1 in 2 incarcerated have an undiagnosed mental illness.
Yesterday I attended an event to talk about mental illness in children hosted by Clarity Child Guidance Center which is the only nonprofit mental health treatment center specializing in children ages 3-17 in San Antonio and South Texas. Their campaign, One in Five Minds, was created not only to raise awareness about mental illness, but also to break down stigma. During the event we were asked to paint four of our nails one color and the fifth an accent nail to signify the one in five children who suffer from mental illness.
In honor of this important campaign I’m challenging my sTORIbook readers to do the same during the month of May which is Mental Health Awareness month! Paint your nails with one accent nail and post a photo with the hashtag #Maynicures and #OneInFiveMinds to raise awareness on childhood mental illness.
The following are some of the warning signs that a child may be struggling with mental illness.
A child is troubled by feeling:
- Really sad and hopeless without good reason, and the feelings don’t go away.
- Very angry most of the time, cries a lot, or overreacts to things.
- Worthless or guilty a lot.
- Anxious or worried a lot more than other young people.
- Grief for a prolonged time after a loss or death.
- Extremely fearful or has unexplained fears or more fears than most children.
- Constantly concerned about physical problems or appearance.
- Frightened that his or her mind is controlled or is out of control.
Experiences big changes, such as:
- Doing much worse in school.
- Losing interest in things he/she usually enjoyed.
- Unexplained changes in sleeping or eating habits.
- Avoiding friends or family and wanting to be alone all the time.
- Daydreaming too much and unable to get things done.
- Feeling that life is too hard to handle or talking about suicide
- Hearing voices that cannot be explained.
Is limited by:
- Poor concentration and can’t make decisions.
- Inability to sit still or focus attention.
- Worry about being harmed, hurting others, or about doing something “bad.”
- The need to wash, clean things, or perform certain routines dozens of times a day.
- Thoughts that race almost too fast to follow.
- Persistent nightmares.
Behaves in ways that cause problems, including:
- Use of alcohol or drugs.
- Eating large amounts of food and then forcing vomiting, abusing laxatives, or taking enemas to avoid weight gain.
- Continuing to diet or exercise obsessively although bone-thin.
- Often hurting other people, destroying property, or breaking the law.
- Doing things that can be life threatening.
- Unexplained cuts and burns.
- Extreme moods.
If you think your child needs help here is some information to assist you. To learn more about this campaign visit: http://www.1in5minds.org.
Disclaimer: This campaign, One in Five Minds, is an initiative by the Clarity Child Guidance Center and I received compensation for this post. While I did receive compensation I want to say that I truly BELIEVE in this cause and raising awareness about it.