Talking to Your Child About Mental Health

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This week, NBC Nightly News reported on issues that childcare professionals have noticed becoming more prevalent in students and campers. I’ve posted both videos below, and I’ll be leaving some resources for parents and campers at the end of this blog post.

This first video explores the connection between anxiety and technology. Will overuse of social media lead to a future mental health crisis?

One psychologist in the video brings up a good point: social media and technology also help children connect with those they love in a positive way. Yet, I can’t help dwelling on the statistic in this report about adolescents using their phones 80 times a day on average. Meredith’s mother in this video says it best:

“When it gets right down to it, my concern about all the screen time is what it is taking the place of.”

One reason camp is so beneficial for youth is the disconnection from technology. Camp offers self-discovery without the constant flow of information from social media. Many speakers at our regional and national camp conferences speak on this issue. Camp and outdoor activities replace screen time with opportunities for self-reflection and self-challenge. This results in higher self-esteem, confidence, and interpersonal skills in teens and children.

The next segment reports on the rising rates of issues with mental, emotional, and social health in adolescents.

The prevalence of mental health issues in youth is something the camp industry pays close attention to. We do our best throughout the year to better prepare ourselves to support our campers. In this video Dr. Harold Koplewicz, Head of the Child Mind Institute, states, “Childhood and mental health disorders are the most common illnesses that children will experience under the age of 18.” NBC reports that 60% of children with depression and 80% with anxiety don’t receive treatment. Lately, society has been working hard to rid mental health issues of the stigma surrounding them. Understanding these findings from the Child Mind Institute about biological differences in the brain is crucial to helping end this stigma. The more we learn the easier it will be to provide youth with quality care so they can live a more fulfilling life.

These issues are important to CSC and the larger camp industry. Below I’m linking to several blog posts by family physician, Today Show contributor, and Ted Talk presenter Dr. Deborah Gilboa, MD. Her website has many resources for parents that we’ve found useful at camp.

Dr. G - For Teens: Talking With Parents About Mental Health Issues

I’ve linked Dr. G’s blog post helping youth develop a strategy to speak with their parents about mental health issues, which also contains information for parents hoping to support their children.

We hope you find these resources as useful as we have and wish you all happy holidays!

About Sean Spencer

Sean spent his first summer at CSC in 2000 as a camper in our Homestead program. After many years as a camper all the way through Pathfinding, he worked as a Head Counselor and Coordinator in our Silver Spruce program. Sean joined the administrative team as Program Director in 2015. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 2013 with a degree in Creative Writing. Sean enjoys reading, writing, being outdoors, snowboarding, and skateboarding in his free time.

Sean Spencer