Mental Health - What's Being Done
- Part 3
Stress and Mental Health
Getting active is something which will
help dissipate stress levels, and assist with positive mental health. The body
produces chemicals during physical activity that reduce your stress level and
help you to relax. Make time for fun. A break from your daily routine can help
reduce daily stress. Stress related absences account for half of all sicknesses
Prepare for stressful events by
imagining yourself feeling calm and handling the situation well. Surround
yourself with cheery people. Avoid stress carriers. Posttraumatic stress
disorder, which causes a pattern of flashbacks and other symptoms and occurs in
children who have experienced a psychologically distressing event, such as
abuse, being a victim or witness of violence, or exposure to other types of
trauma such as wars or natural disasters. Don't dwell on news of the crisis.
Gather the information you need, then turn off the TV or radio.
Some behavior change following a
crisis is a typical response to an extraordinary situation. Behavior changes
following a crisis are generally temporary. Each person responds to crisis in
different ways and moves through the crisis at his or her own pace.
Mental Health in the Young
Generalized anxiety disorders cause
children to demonstrate a pattern of excessive, unrealistic worry that cannot be
attributed to any recent experience. Panic disorders cause terrifying
"panic attacks" that include physical symptoms, such as a rapid
heartbeat and dizziness. Obsessive-compulsive disorders cause children to become
"trapped" in a pattern of repeated thoughts and behaviors, such as
counting or hand washing. Twenty percent of youths in juvenile justice
facilities have a serious emotional disturbance and have a mental disorder that
can be diagnosed. Up to an additional 30 percent of youths in these facilities
have substance abuse disorders or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse
Child, Adolescent and Family Branch
The Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch of the Federal Center for Mental Health
Services promotes and ensures that the mental health needs of children and their
families are met within the context of community-based systems of care. Systems
of care are developed on the premise that the mental health needs of children,
adolescents, and their families can be met within their home, school, and
A study conducted by the
American Journal of Psychiatry noted that anti-depressant treatment reduces
overall healthcare costs by more than 70 percent. Systems of care and other
community-based mental health care programs should be expanded to provide
children and families with a broad range of effective services tailored to their
individual needs. To ensure access to appropriate mental health services,
insurance companies should provide parity in coverage with medical/surgical care
for mental health services. The mission of the National Child Traumatic Stress
Network (NCTSN) is to raise the standard of care and improve access to services
for traumatized children, their families and communities throughout the United
School planning for disasters and the
aftermath of September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina are part of this scheme.
Recognizing and reducing anxiety in times of crisis is an important mental
health initiative for dealing with stress from traumatic events.
Marking disaster anniversaries in the
classroom is an initiative that suggests activities for teachers to use with
students of different grade levels to commemorate disaster anniversaries.
Questions to help children talk about a disaster are important -
"open-ended" questions to encourage children to talk about their
feelings and experiences following a disaster.
When talking doesn't seem to help,
there are other methods that can help children express their feelings following
a disaster. Disaster counseling provides suggestions for disaster counselors on
establishing rapport and active listening.
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