Back to blog

Concerned About Your Child’s Mental Health? You’re Not Alone

mental healthTeen Therapytherapychildrenbehavioral health • 3 min read • Feb 23, 2023 11:46:12 AM • Written by: Kat Smith

It’s no secret that parenting is challenging, but according to a recent study from Pew Research Center, about 2/3 of parents in the U.S. have found that being a parent is harder than they expected. One possible reason for this trend is the growing mental health crisis among American youth. While parents may be well-equipped to help their children navigate challenges like trouble at school or physical health concerns, mental health issues present an entirely different struggle that many parents are finding themselves unprepared for.

Rising Concerns of Mental Health Among Youth

Pediatricians and other experts are noticing a growing trend of children presenting symptoms of anxiety and depression, even at very young ages. These symptoms may include poor self-esteem, loss of interest in activities children once enjoyed, significant changes in appetite or sleep, changes in mood, and talk or attempts at self-harm. Children may also experience physical symptoms as a result of mental health issues, such as frequent stomach aches or headaches.

It is important to recognize that no child is immune to mental illness. Children of all ages and backgrounds may experience anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mood disorders.

Factors Driving the Mental Health Crisis

America’s mental health crisis among youth is driven by a variety of complex factors, many of which are out of parents’ control. However, by understanding what is underlying mental health concerns in children, you can become more aware of the struggles your child faces in daily life, allowing you to offer a more compassionate, supportive environment.

  • Pandemic – The pandemic had an adverse effect on the mental health of people of all ages, including children. During the COVID-19 pandemic, suicide became the second leading cause of death among children from ages 10-14. Additionally, mental health-related emergency room visits among adolescents skyrocketed. However, the pandemic is not solely responsible for the current mental health crisis. Even before 2019, medical professionals were seeing an increase in children and teens dealing with mental illnesses.
  • Gun Violence – Gun violence is a prevalent concern in the U.S., especially among children. In fact, gun violence is the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. Parents and children alike have realistic worries that they may become victims of gun violence, and they may have trauma caused by having friends or family members who have been direct victims themselves. Even simply hearing gunshots in their neighborhoods or hearing their parents discuss recent shootings can traumatize children and cause them to struggle in their mental health. Black, Hispanic, and low-income parents are the most likely to be worried about gun violence, and these trends align with the communities that are most often affected by firearm-related deaths.
  • Bullying – Bullying is not a recent development, but the landscape of bullying has changed with the newfound prevalence of social media in daily life. On social media platforms, bullying extends far beyond school walls. And even outside of direct attacks on social media, children may experience immense pressure to look and act certain ways due to unrealistic expectations promoted by influencers on social media platforms.

Seeking the Right Avenues for Help

Parents who notice their children struggling with their mental health may be unsure where to turn. Simply consulting your child’s pediatrician is often the best place to start. They may recommend a variety of resources including pediatric and family therapists who can offer an outlet for your child to better cope with their mental stressors. Parents may also benefit from seeking therapy themselves so that they better understand how to effectively communicate with their children and cope with parental burnout.

Seeking help for your or your child’s mental health is not always easy. With Walmart Health Virtual Care, you can access the mental healthcare services you need from the comfort of home. Help your child connect with a licensed therapist specializing in adolescent therapy in as little as 72 hours.

Reach the World. Giving Made Easy with Impact.

Kat Smith