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Talking Too Much About Kids Mental Health?

By June 20, 2024No Comments

Talking Too Much About Kids’ Mental Health? No, Says KidsPeace CEO 

Recent strides in breaking down the stigma around mental healthcare for young people may be fueling a backlash, with some researchers and commentators suggesting that talking about the issue actually may be making the problem worse.

They’re wrong, argues KidsPeace President and CEO Michael Slack in a guest column published 6/20 in the Allentown Morning Call newspaper:

… As an organization dedicated to helping youngsters manage mental and behavioral health challenges, we find these conclusions troubling … as they draw unfortunate parallels to the time when stigma surrounding mental illness prevented many families from seeking help for their kids, seeing it as shameful…

We’ve made great strides in breaking down that stigma.  Parents and families now understand that not only are mental health concerns legitimate, but help can be found to address the suffering of their loved ones. But if school officials, families or students are led to believe their symptoms may not be real, the effect may be backsliding into hiding or denying the issues our kids are living with — until they get bad enough that they can’t be hidden or denied.

Here’s an analogy: if a child presents physical symptoms that point to diabetes, their pediatrician’s response will be to order tests and lay out the options for families should the diagnosis prove to be founded.  But imagine if, instead of providing the necessary care and support, that doctor spent precious time deciding whether exposure to information about diabetes was playing a role in that child’s suffering.

The column cites the just-published Healing Magazine “Spotlight Section” on youth voices on mental health to point out the youth contributors are calling for MORE attention to be paid to their concerns – not less.

You can read Mr. Slack’s full column on the Morning Call website here.

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Director of Communications at KidsPeace. 800-25-PEACE, ext. 7797 |