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Common Misunderstandings About Children’s Mental Health

Mental health challenges can be confusing, especially in kids. There is a lot of inaccurate information out there about mental health disorders and their causes.

Here are some important points to know about children’s mental health and how treatment can help.

  1. Kids with mental health challenges are not damaged.

Having a mental health or learning disorder doesn’t mean that a child can’t grow up to be happy and successful. Especially with early treatment, symptoms can be reduced or eliminated and kids can develop into healthy adults.

  1. Mental health challenges don’t mean your child is weak.

Mental health disorders don’t say anything more about a child’s character than illnesses like diabetes or asthma do. With the right tools and treatment, kids can overcome these challenges.

  1. Mental health disorders are not caused by bad parenting.

Many mental health and learning disorders are thought to have biological causes. The child’s home environment matters and parents can help kids recover, but parents are not to blame for children’s mental health challenges.

  1. Kids shouldn’t have to handle mental health challenges alone.

Mental health disorders are more than just a rough patch or a bad mood. Kids don’t have the skills and experience to manage the severe distress and dysfunction that mental health challenges can cause. They need professional support and the right treatment to thrive.

  1. Therapy can help kids feel better.

Treatment for children’s mental health isn’t old-fashioned talk therapy. Today, treatment is based on scientific research and it gives kids practical tools to deal with their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Studies have shown that these evidence-based treatments, especially cognitive behavioral therapy, can reduce or eliminate symptoms and help lots of kids feel better.

  1. Medication is helpful for some children.

Some people think that doctors prescribe medication to children too often. But medication can be crucial for kids with some disorders, especially in combination with behavioral therapy. And for some kids with severe mental health or developmental challenges, it may enable them to stay in school and in their homes, rather than needing residential treatment.

7. Kids don’t usually grow out of mental health problems.

Children with an untreated mental health disorders usually experience worse symptoms as they get older. Most mental health problems are harder to treat in adulthood, so getting treatment during childhood can lead to much better outcomes.

Return to Connect to Care for more information about getting kids help.