/**/ /*for accordian menu styling */

Approaching Children's Mental Health Differently

Approaching children's mental health differently

Children and adults are often split into two separate and distinct groups. Adults are the older, wiser bunch. Seasoned by age and experience, adults and their mental health have a different value. Children on the other hand are sometimes ignored. Society assumes they are not capable of the same emotions that adults are. While children are at a different developmental level than adults, they too feel things deeply. In fact, children absorb more than we think they do.

Children absorbing information is rooted in their brain chemistry. Because of their youth, their brain is at a different developmental stage. This impacts how they take in and process information. Sandra Kuhlman of Carnegie Mellon University has observed that children take in a great deal of information. "When you're young, you haven't experienced much, so your brain needs to be a sponge that soaks up all types of information," Kuhlman notes. "It seems that the brain turns off the inhibitory cells to allow this to happen."

A child’s brain is hard-wired to take in as much information as possible. Because their brains are underdeveloped, they have not yet learned what is worth storing and what isn't. This is necessary to learn and expand at a young age. A byproduct of this, however, is that children take in the good and bad. Often they might keep more than an adult might absorb. They also often lack the ability to process the emotional inputs they are taking in.

Childhood is a time of rapid changes. Your child might be facing many new experiences. These might include school, making new friends, homework, or sports/other activities. These new inputs can take their toll on a developing brain. While there are new and exciting things to learn about, some children might find them especially taxing or stressful. Some children may respond to these new experiences with intensity or volatility if they feel overwhelmed. Others may shy away from new experiences as a coping mechanism.

Mindfulness, counseling and therapy can help. Practice mindfulness for anxiety and depression in New York City. New York, NY

The American Psychological Association speaks about the importance of children’s mental health. “Mental health — an essential part of children's overall health — has a complex interactive relationship with their physical health. Also their ability to succeed in school, at work and in society. Both physical and mental health affect how we think, feel and act on the inside and outside.” While we understand these things to be true about adults, we sometimes ignore these realities in children. Yet their experiences are valid and important. Our ability to assist children in processing can have a massive impact on their future experiences as adults.

Each child is unique and processes new experiences in their own way. A significant part of growing up is defining one’s own identity. As adults, we understand to this constant process. We grow, struggle, and then come out on the other side stronger than before. While we understand this process, children might struggle more. They do not have the benefit of years of experience to tell them that these experiences and feelings are normal. While some children seem to adjust with ease, others might face more difficulty. This is nothing to be ashamed of or uncomfortable with. Some children need more support, social skill development, or strategies to help them make it to the next level of development.

At MindWell NYC, we believe children are dynamic, growing beings whose mental health needs as much care and attention as that of an adult. While children may lack the ability to express themselves, they send signs that we must act on. We always ask - what are your child’s strengths? Perhaps they thrive in social situations, but struggle with schoolwork or homework. Or perhaps they are good students, but have struggled to develop friendships? By focusing on a child’s strengths, we are able to meet them on their level. We work with them to develop strategies that they can use in their everyday lives to improve mental and physical health.

It is this approach that has changed the face of children’s mental health services. By viewing children as the unique, fascinating, and social beings that they are, we can approach their care in a more nuanced way. It is easier to dismiss children’s mental health as being lesser or not as important. The reality, however, is that our approach to their mental health has repercussions for years to come.

Over 15 million young people are suffering from mental health disorders in America. Many of these same individuals grow up to be adults wrestling with any number of mental health illnesses or concerns. By investing in children and their mental health, we may be able to support healing at an early age. Many mental health concerns are made worse by cumulative trauma or stress. Supporting children and their mental health will go a long way to helping them become fully-functional, happy adults. Approaching children’s health with trust and legitimacy allows this to happen. It allows children to feel empowered, and address some of their challenging experiences as they happen. This, instead of addressing things for the first time years or decades later.

At MindWell NYC, we are proud to offer children’s therapy. We encourage you to read more about our services, or reach out with any questions.

If you are seeking counseling in New York City, contact us today to learn more about our services!

Request a Consultation

Fill out the form below to have one of our therapists reach out to discuss consultation services in New York City.

Name *

MindWell Psychology Contact Information