Understanding Children's Mental Health
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1 in every 6 youth has a mental or behavioral health disorder that impacts their lives at home and at school. We ride to help New York’s kids with the resources they need to heal and grow.
How have pandemic and recent events impacted children’s mental health?
Mental and behavioral health professionals are deeply concerned about young people, who continue to experience stress, trauma, grief, and loss as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Children have experienced and continue to experience long periods isolated at home, whether from a school closure or after an exposure to Covid. Their families have been under increased stress since early 2020 and recently have been impacted by spikes in food, housing, and energy costs adding further risks and uncertainty to children’s lives and wellbeing that can lead to serious mental health issues. This, combined with the anxiety caused by school shootings and racial violence in communities, has led to a mental health crisis for our children.
What are some of the mental health challenges that kids face?
Anxiety disorders are the most common challenges, followed by behavior disorders, mood disorders, and substance abuse disorders. Children of all ages can also experience developmental delays, communication difficulties, social-emotional struggles, and learning disabilities.
Even before the Covid pandemic, suicide was the second-leading cause of death in the state for youth aged 15-19, and the third-leading cause of death for children aged 5-143.
Physical and sexual abuse, family violence, parental separation, emotional neglect, and substance misuse within a household can also be significant stressors for children. These are called adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Mental health issues can rise as early as between birth and age 5.
What’s the risk of not helping kids with mental health challenges?
Undetected psychiatric disorders can have irreversible long-term consequences for the children, their families, and their communities. 76% of children ages 3-5 who were expelled from preschool had Adverse Childhood Experiences. And almost 50% of adolescents in high school with mental health problems drop out of school. The good news is that children who receive treatment are over three times more likely to be engaged in school. The earlier we identify and treat children with mental health issues, the better chance they will have for successful adult lives.
What programs exist to help?
The earlier we identify and treat children with mental health issues, the better chance they will have for successful adult lives.
Funds raised by Cycle of Support help provide:
- Therapy for kids and families in every NYC borough
- Mental health programs in schools that provide individual therapy sessions for students, and to support teachers and school staff
- Services at a therapeutic nursery, including play therapy, music therapy, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy for preschoolers
- Foster care programs that help kids who have experienced abuse and neglect
- Access to therapists in a variety of community-based settings such as child care centers, homeless shelters, and domestic violence shelters
- Homes for kids who need more intensive therapeutic mental health treatment
1 Calderon, V. (2020, July 31). U.S. Parents Say COVID-19 Harming Child's Mental Health. Retrieved August 03, 2020
2 Moncrease, S. (2020, June 10). Kids and Covid-19: A Mental Health Crisis Looms. Retrieved August 03, 2020
3 Kann, L., McManus, T., Harris, W. A., Shanklin, S. L., Flint, K. H., Queen, B., Ethier, K. (2018, May 21). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States, 2017. Retrieved August 03, 2020