By Denise Morganthall
Mental, emotional and behavioral health is a critical component of a child’s well-being. Almost one in five young children have one or more mental health disorders, and one in 10 has mental health problems that are severe enough to impair functioning at home, school or in the community. The good news is that children with behavioral health conditions and trauma histories can and do recover. Success in helping to improve their health requires family involvement.
Family involvement is essential to accelerate recovery. We tend to manage stressors better when we are not alone. There is a wealth of data supporting the importance of human connections for healing and the recovery from trauma or any mental health condition. As a health care professional, I know there is a clear connection between mind and body. The family is the key to the child’s success.
But sometimes it can be difficult for parents to be a part of the child’s treatment when they in fact are dealing with mental health issues themselves. They struggle to manage their parenting roles.
Being supported by an agency or health care facility that takes a whole family approach to supporting the child, their parents and other family members is essential. At times the parents may need special help to deal with their child. The clinician/mental health professional will work with the parents and child to help everyone develop new skills, attitudes and ways of relating to each other. Parents can take part in parent skills training. This helps parents learn how to deal with difficult situations and behaviors. Support groups can also help family members connect with each other. They know they are not alone, which is important since parents need this support as much as the child.
KidsPeace supports family involvement as evidenced in our wide array of services, programs and testimonials. As a parent you will be involved in your child’s treatment from start to finish, through treatment team meetings, therapeutic home visits and family counseling to make sure you and your child are on the same page and ready to live in harmony after his/her return home.