Beating the stigma surrounding mental health, addiction as students return to the classroom

About one in five adults are living with a mental illness, and one in five children aged 13-18 have or will have one.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – If you’re struggling with mental health issues, you’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly one in five adults lives with a mental illness, and one in five children ages 13-18 have or will have a serious mental illness.

On top of that, substance abuse disorders and other mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, sometimes occur together, but that doesn’t mean one causes the other.

As students return to school for the 2022-2023 school year, 10TV spoke with Dr. Amina stayed with Kemavor. Health problems in children to try to prevent drug abuse.

Kiona Dyches: As a parent or caregiver, what is the first step you should take to protect your child’s mental health?

Dr. Kemavor: “We want to think right about the home, so our environment is what we take in, and what we take in eventually comes out of us. And so being able to model health and well-being at home is key.”

Dyches: How can you help your child who may be facing mental health challenges return to school?

Dr. Kemavor: “If you find that your child’s ability to live, laugh and love is challenged, there may be some underlying, you know, things going on. First, you have to communicate with your child. Regularly, you know, at school. And outside, extracurricular activities, you know how to learn to have difficult conversations about things that might happen in your child’s life, to be in touch with their teachers, their education, staff, their coaches.”

Dyches: What kinds of behaviors let you know your child has a mental health problem?

Dr. Chemavore: “Behaviors include eating more or less than usual, sleeping more or less than usual, possible behavior changes at home or school, such as in the classroom, academic performance changes, changes with extra sports, even some mood swings or outbursts. And especially, if your child If you start to withdraw socially from your friends, or activities, and start to isolate yourself, that would be a cause for concern.”

Dyches: How do you know when it’s time to reach out for help from a professional?

Dr. Kemavor: “With that living, laughing and loving, it’s really important to just trust your instincts. You know your child, so observe how they’re experiencing their world. You know, what they can be. Right now.” Are they processing a breakup? Are they processing a friendship that maybe, you know, didn’t go the way they wanted it to? And then we also want to make sure if there’s any history of mental illness in our family. Yes, then we want to accept that too.”

Dyches: What should you do if your child appears to be using substances to cope with mental health challenges?

Dr. Kemavor: “Just breathe. First, take a beat and sort of process what you suspect is really going on and do some observational key checks. You know, what is your child experiencing right now in their life? A genetic factor. What might be contributing to this questionable use? And in addition, if you decide to do this with your child through a very non-judgmental, open, no-blame lens, we want the best possible outcome for that particular conversation.”

Dyches: Are some people more vulnerable to mental health challenges and substance abuse?

Dr. Kemavor: “Mental illness, you know, can show up in early childhood and those teenagers can show up in the very early years, especially around the 18 to 25 age group. But instead of being more prescriptive about what actually is. You know, age, My child may have a mental illness, or, you know, engage in substance use. It’s really again that observational lens, paying attention to how your child is reacting to their actual environment. Mental illness and addiction do not discriminate. So, no one It doesn’t come out of it, right? It’s something that can happen to any of us at any time in our lives, it really depends on a lot of factors that can’t be linked to genetics. Or the environment, it can just be something we’re exposed to, that we know. And then things take a different turn.

10TV has partnered with the Ohio Opioid Alliance to help “defeat the stigma” surrounding mental health and addiction.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or addiction or you want to learn more about the stigma surrounding them, visit beatthestigma.org for more information.

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