Mental Health Week: Or Children’s Mental Health Week Makes Me Crazy
Well my darling followers it is still children’s mental health week here and there have been multiple workshops and various other offerings in and around town and still it feels like nobody seems to care. No press in the rag about town. Minimal audience at the various events I have attended and sadly this is making me crazy. Can anyone else say inducement? Or irony for that matter? Children’s Mental Health is a topic I am passionate about but it is making me crazy. Breathe with me. In 2 3 4. Out 2 3 4. There, that’s better. One in five children are suffering from mental heath disorders. Some will muddle through school. Some will succeed. Some will drop out or attempt suicide. Anyway on that cheery note, here is a bit of what I’ve learned this week. Are schools doing enough to help children with mental health issues? No. Is the Ontario Ministry of Education supporting schools or showing them how to help children with complex mental health issues? Again, not nearly well enough. Small gains are being made, but I sadly hear way too many of the horror stories as parent facilitator for a group of adoptive parents. Esteemed expert and child advocate Barrie Evans spoke this week in London at a lunch and learn series regarding children’s mental health in schools. It makes a good deal more sense, to paraphrase him from lunch and learn yesterday, to head off the behaviour in schools by noting the antecedents to the behaviour and what follows the behaviour. Or what comes before and after the behaviour. After all a child’s behaviour is communicating a need. When it is an explosive behaviour people pay attention. The children throwing chairs and hitting others and generally losing it sometimes get services depending on who is noticing the behaviour and how loudly they complain and where they try to access service, or even if they try to access service. In reality internalizing behaviours are so much harder to pinpoint. The kids who stress out and have anxiety issues, depression, panic attacks often suffer in silence. Sad, but true. Another statistic I learned this week. Left untreated mental health issues among teens and children often result in death. Children as young as four and six have been reported as suicidal, often with an actual plan on how to carry out their own death. Over the last eight months in Ontario there will have been 60 deaths attributable to suicide, the result of mental health issues, untreated, treated ineffectively or not in time. If this were any other physical illness, there would be public outcry. Again sad but true and certainly not good enough.
After reading this and talking to you let me know if you hear of any other speeches Barrie’s doing. I’d really like to learn more then what I know. I’m still processing a lot of what we both heard at the FASD seminar in London.