Supporting Our Kids
Our kids are struggling. Their mental and emotional health has worsened over the last year and it’s going to take our entire community to help them through this time. Isolation, disrupted routines, and loss have increased negative emotions and the need for resources. If you’re a parent or a child who is struggling right now, there is help.
Our community’s behavioral health system is working to meet the increased need for pediatric mental health services. Organizations like MultiCare are hiring more behavioral health providers that specialize in pediatrics. Providers are offering both virtual and in-person sessions to give kids and families flexibility. There are also innovative ways to reach teens and kids with technology. Samantha Clark, executive director of MultiCare’s behavioral health programs, explains it this way, “And as we move forward and we transition into what feels like new normal, I want you all to know that the field of mental health is innovating, is disrupting itself, is being challenged, and is changing to meet the need of our kids and our community.”
It’s important to remember that our kids’ mental health struggles will not just go away. It will take time to work through all the emotions of the last year and that is OK. Right now is the time to be aware of your kids’ struggles, check in with them to make sure they are feeling supported, and reach out for help when needed. Reaching out for help could be an appointment with their pediatrician, a discussion with their school counselor, or a call to the 24/7 Regional Crisis Line (877.266.1818).
It can be hard to know how to talk to kids about trauma and recent events, but here are some tools to get you started:
- Tips for Talking with and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers
- MentalHealth.gov Parents and Caregivers Guide
- Mental Health America’s Mental Health and COVID-19 Information and Resources for Parents
- Practice the Pause: Age-Appropriate Toolkits to Support Kids During the Pandemic
If you’re not a parent or caregiver, you can help too! To understand how you can support children and families in our community visit SRHD.org/Pinwheel.