August 24: Mental Health Awareness Day

Mental health and our youth: bringing awareness to an under-reported issue

Blog provided by the following Baylor College of Medicine Pediatric Residents at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio: Dr. Nga Tang, PGY1; Dr. Alyssa Estes, PGY1; Dr. Matthew Sattler, PGY1; Dr. Christian Molony, PGY1; Dr. Ashley Gabriel, PGY2; Dr. Andrew Milera, PGY2; Dr. Cody Clary, PGY2; Dr. Amanda Scully, PGY2; Dr. Lauren Kjolhede, PGY3; Dr. Ann Marie Mojica, PGY3; Dr. Pedro Zavala, PGY3

Children’s mental health is an important part of their well-being and overall health as they grow and develop into adults. Anxiety, depression, bullying, suicide, social media exposure, addiction, and even school shootings are all issues that our children face today.

A common denominator is that all are related to mental health. But how often do we truly address mental health on a daily basis? What if we discover that our children need help? It can seem a daunting task, but we hope we can shed light on this day set aside to reflect on mental health and share resources to help our children and families when they need it most.

There are approximately 450,000 children currently living in Bexar County, and this number is expected to increase 20 percent by 2020. Nationally, one in five children is estimated to suffer from a mental, emotional, or behavioral (MEB) disorder; this translates to upwards of 90,000 children with MEB disorders in our county alone, only 20 percent of whom currently have access to mental health services¹.

As shocking as these numbers are, experts believe that the statistics are still under-reported². Children with MEB disorders are twice as likely to start using illicit drugs and alcohol. They constitute up to three-quarters of detainees in juvenile detention centers. Moreover, approximately half of them will not graduate from high school³. These statistics illustrate that children with MEB disorders are an underserved population that would greatly benefit from increased resources.

As pediatricians in the San Antonio area, many clinic visits are now centered around mental health and behavioral concerns, rather than sick visits for sore throats, coughs, or ankle injuries. Recognizing and discussing how children build relationships or respond to stress can be as important to their health as brushing their teeth and eating a healthy diet.

Below are resources available to assist with mental health – ranging from crisis hotlines, counseling resources, and more to assist in addressing mental health in our community.

Available Resources:

References:

For parents seeking help for their child, a good place to start is with your pediatrician. If you need to find a pediatrician in San Antonio click here. 

Author: The Children's Hospital of San Antonio

The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is the first freestanding hospital in San Antonio solely dedicated to the care of children. Located in the heart of downtown San Antonio, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is owned by CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System. Baylor College of Medicine, one of the top medical schools in the nation, is the academic partner of The Children’s Hospital with 170 pediatric subspecialists affiliated with Baylor. In addition, community physicians in private practice remain a valuable partner in the care of children in our community. We are a health care ministry that works to continually meet the needs of the community to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, following the values and mission of our sponsoring congregations; Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Houston and San Antonio, as well as our newest sponsoring congregation, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

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