Understanding Mental Health
Mental health, also known as emotional or behavioral health is a vital part of your child’s overall health and development. A child’s mental health has often been separated from a child’s overall well-being. However, your child’s mental and physical health are all part of their overall well-being. We know that when your child is having a problem with his/her physical health there may also be issues with his/her mental health. As well as, when your child has a problem with his/her mental health it can also result in physical problems. Many children and adults experience mental health issues from time to time. These mental health issues include feeling overwhelmed by certain circumstances, feeling sad as a result of being hurt by others, or experiencing a loss, or feeling anxious or stressed about events or things in your life. However, for some, these normal stresses can sometimes be overwhelming and result in the child not being able to function in their day to day life. For children with chronic difficulties, we have developed ways of understanding and categorizing their problems, called mental health diagnoses. Diagnoses can be given by a pediatrician or a qualified mental health professional and typically are not permanent and can change over time. Diagnoses provide us with a way of understanding the child’s situation and problems or concerns they currently face.
It is important for parents to know that mental health diagnoses are a way for professionals and parents to identify and understand your child’s difficulties. However, these diagnoses do not fully explain or describe your child’s strengths and positive nature. Mental health diagnoses also help insurance providers, Medicaid and other third party payers to classify and identify your child’s issues for payment.
Mental health problems fall into a lot of categories, including adjustment related problems, anxiety disorders, mood disorders (depression), developmental disorders, behavioral (conduct) disorders, feeding and eating disorders, elimination disorders, sleep disorders, substance abuse disorders, personality disorders and more serious disorders often referred to as psychotic disorders. To learn more about specific disorders please link to the common disorders section of this website.