Among the key findings: —Almost half of the parents spoke to their child’s primary care provider about mental health concerns in the past year;
—24% said their child had used mental or behavioral services over the past year; What do you see as the key findings of the survey regarding the emotional health of Chicago children?
The Q&A below has been edited for length and clarity. We found a couple of things that are really of interest. One is that 44% of the parents said that their 2- to 11-year-old children—so preschool to elementary school age children—were having symptoms of emotional or behavioral distress more during the pandemic than at any time before. Nearly half of all parents said there kids were having symptoms like more tantrums, more clinginess, difficulty sleeping, difficulty getting along with friends, nightmares, etc.
To learn more, we spoke with Dr. Matthew Davis, chair of pediatrics at Lurie Children’s Hospital. Davis co-authored a report about the survey. —18% said they were unable to access mental or behavioral services for their child.
Document: Read the Voices of Child Health in Chicago Report Would those be some of the key signs that a child may be suffering emotional distress? And if parents see those signs, what kind of help can they get for their child?
How might older children, including teenagers, show signs of emotional distress? For teenagers, they’ll either come right out and say it in terms of expressing their emotions or we may see other symptoms such as chronic headaches, chronic abdominal pain, some symptoms of anxiety or change in mood, or oftentimes withdrawing from their family or their friendships. Often the first line of help that parents turn to is their children’s primary care doctor. So we also found that nearly half of parents said they had reached out to their children’s pediatrician or nurse practitioner for help with these types of concerns. For kids who are really too young to put words to what they are feeling, it’s often these behaviors that are the tip-off that we need to look at how we can help them.
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