Did you know that most mental disorders start before age 14? It makes it even more important to help our students as soon as any symptoms are shown. The following are valuable tips from Victoria Costello. She is a great author and has many good articles out there. This one was on the Psychology Today website, December 2011.
So what can we do to be proactive about mental illness?
1. Create a “tree” of your family mental health history going back three generations, and record all known or suspected mental disorders and addictions. If relatives baulk at your digging into the past, point out that it’s for the safety of your children, and future grandchildren. Use the https://familyhistory.hhs.gov/fhh-web/familyHistory/familyHistory.action US Surgeon General’s online form for recording and storing your family mental health (and medical) history. It may be scary to see everything laid out but remember there is often a genetic link for addictions and mental disorders.
2. Learn about environmental agents that may cause miscarriages, birth defects or developmental problems later in http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/child-development childhood. The source may be a disease such as chickenpox, a prescription drug, or a household chemical.
3. Treat Yourself First. Think of your actions as an act of prevention for your child’s mental health. Recent research from Columbia University demonstrated that by treating a mother for depression her depressed or anxious child’s symptoms dramatically improved—without direct treatment!
4. Monitor your Child’s Behavior for Early Symptoms Most adult mental disorders start before the age of fourteen. If there is a high density of any single mental illness among your relatives, learn about its early signs; for example, social withdrawal for depression, or extreme http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/anger anger and aggression for conduct disorder, which can predict adolescent psychosis. Bring a child for a mental health evaluation as soon as symptoms linger for a month or more. Especially if there’s a family mental health history of depression, or a possible http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/suicide suicide, use any means necessary to stop your teenager’s use of http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/cannabismarijuana marijuana, as it can trigger psychosis.
5. Talk About Thoughts and Feelings – As soon as your child begins to recognize her own thoughts and feelings and those of others, start an age-appropriate conversation about how emotions and minds work. Compare the spectrum of possible feelings and thoughts to the colors of a rainbow. This “normalization” of differences makes it more likely that your child will confide any future psychological problems to you and be less inclined to stigmatize others.
6. Have Zero Tolerance towards http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/bullying Bullying – Bullying of any kind is not okay. Sometimes children say they can handle it but really they are embarrassed. Remember that the abuse is much worse than embarrassment. Most schools have bullying policies. There are even laws against harassment. Stop the bullying!
7. Make http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/self-esteem Self Esteem a Priority – Remember this does not mean just saying nice things. It means finding strengths in your child. Consider renewing a commitment to family dinners; give everyone a role, which will help teach http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/teamwork teamwork.
http://alethalinheritance.com/about-the-book/ A Lethal Inheritance, A Mother Uncovers the Science Behind Three Decades of Mental Illness,
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/awakening-psyche Awakening Psyche
Integrating body, mind and spirit in our collective consciousness.
by Victoria Costello
Getting to Happy
Leading psychology researchers offer tips for mental wellness.
Published on December 2, 2011 by http://www.psychologytoday.com/experts/victoria-costello Victoria Costello in http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/awakening-psyche Awakening Psyche