Kids Are Hurting, CAN WE TALK? Child Mental Health Solutions

Kids are hurting.

Across the country, masks are now coming off… but the effects of unprecedented isolation, life disruption and the loss of loved ones linger. This is especially true for young families.

I am grateful that my children are older now. I can barely imagine the extreme anxiety of raising toddlers during the pandemic. I think about young families who live in small apartments and wonder how they possibly survived lock down and the relentless exhaustion of caregiving. Many of the families we work with know this feeling too well.

There is reason to be hopeful. Awareness of the mental health crisis is translating into action in many political spheres.

Data shows mental health-related emergency department visits for young children are on the rise. Schools continue to struggle with teacher shortages. Parents are dealing with their own stresses and burnout, too. Meanwhile, videos from Russia’s Ukraine invasion fill the news feeds and uncertainty about our lives has become the “new norm.” It’s a lot to process.

Those of us who work in early childhood have an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference. We CAN be part of the solution like never before. It’s a lot to ask of educators to add “social work” to their skill set, but the payoff will be there. We ARE and CAN BE a primary protective factor like never before.

But talking about mental health is not easy. I understand the stigma of mental health, especially in my work as a certified NAMI trainer. It’s hard to admit we are struggling. But as teachers and caregivers, we are role models and our families are looking to US to start the conversation.

Check out my Mental Health in Early Childhood workshop, it’s a great time to book it. I’m presenting it at several state conferences this Spring, but you can book it for your own agency anytime and everyone will receive a CEU Certificate for 2 Hours of Professional Development.

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and share your experiences.  I hope you enjoy connecting with like minded spirits as much as I do.

Anna Reyner,

Consultant & Trainer:
CreativePlayLA, Los Angeles California

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