May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. For a list of El Centro’s behavioral health services, click here.
Children’s Mental Health
Mental health in childhood means reaching developmental and emotional milestones, learning healthy social skills, and coping when there are problems. Mentally healthy children have a positive quality of life and can function well at home, in school, and in their communities. Mental disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, which cause distress and problems getting through the day.
What are the symptoms of childhood mental disorders?
Symptoms of mental disorders change over time as a child grows, and may include difficulties with how a child plays, learns, speaks, and acts or how the child handles their emotions. Symptoms often start in early childhood, although some disorders may develop during the teenage years. The diagnosis is often made in the school years and sometimes earlier.
Can childhood mental disorders be treated?
Childhood mental disorders can be treated and managed. There are many treatment options based on the best and most current medical evidence, so parents and doctors should work closely with everyone involved in the child’s treatment — teachers, coaches, therapists, and other family members. Taking advantage of all the resources available will help parents, health professionals, and educators guide the child towards success.
Adult Mental Health
Everyone feels sad sometimes, but these feelings usually pass within a few days. Depression interferes with daily life and may last for weeks or months at a time.
Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after having a baby. Feelings of postpartum depression are more intense and last longer than those of “baby blues,” a term used to describe the worry, sadness, and tiredness many women experience after having a baby. “Baby blues” symptoms typically resolve on their own within a few days.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression doesn’t feel the same for everyone. How often symptoms occur, how long they last, and how intense they may feel can be different for each person.
Symptoms of depression can include:
- Lasting sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Feelings of irritability or restlessness
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Loss of energy
- Problems concentrating, recalling details, and making decisions
- Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much
- Overeating or loss of appetite
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains that do not get better with treatment
Risk Factors for Depression
Experiences that may put some women at a higher risk for depression can include
- Stressful live events
- Low social support
- Previous history of depression
- Family history of depression
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- Being a mom to multiples, like twins, or triplets
- Being a teen mom
- Preterm (before 37 weeks) labor and delivery
- Pregnancy and birth complications
- Having a baby who has been hospitalized
For more information about El Centro’s behavioral health services or to schedule an appointment, please call (713)660-1880.