School’s (almost) out for summer! Summer is the perfect season to get healthy: there’s plenty of daylight and warmth for outdoor activity, fresh fruits and vegetables are at their peak taste, and kids and families have more time to stay active, rest, and relax.
While summertime may help us stay in tune with our physical health, it is also a good time to check in on mental health. So, as students’ final report cards start rolling in, keep in mind the new report on children’s mental health from the Child Mind Institute.
The main findings? More and more young people are getting diagnosed with mental health disorders, from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, the majority still aren’t getting adequate treatment. The report estimates that 40% of young people with ADHD, 60% of young people with depression, and 80% of young people with anxiety do not seek treatment. Lack of access to care, a short supply of mental health specialists, and undetected disorders all contribute to this gap.
The consequences of untreated mental illness can be severe. Youth with mental health disorders are more at risk for developing other psychiatric disorders, committing suicide, and facing imprisonment later in life.
According to the report, nearly half (49.5%) of American youth will have had a diagnosable mental illness at some point before they are 18, with anxiety, ADHD, depression, and eating disorders topping the list. Yet despite the prevalence of these conditions, only 7.4% of children in the US have any mental health visits in a year. Treatment includes seeing a health professional, taking prescription medication, speaking with a counselor, attending a support group, or utilizing school-based services.
At BodiMojo, we believe that raising emotionally intelligent children is one way to cultivate mental health. We can get so busy with school, sports, and other activities that we forget to zoom out and check in with how kids are feeling and coping with daily life. Teaching young people to check in and accept their range of emotions helps them manage life’s ups and downs and realize they are not alone.
So, we know the importance of monitoring outward health, but what about what’s going on within? As you’re scheduling that upcoming annual physical before school begins again, keep in mind the mental, too.