TAKE IN THE FACTS, TAKE OUT THE STIGMA
THE MORE YOU KNOW ABOUT BEHAVIORAL HEALTH, THE MORE YOU UNDERSTAND
Chidren are suffering
by no fault of their own.
Behavioral health and
physical heath equally contribute
to our overall wellbeing.
lt’s not merely a
WHAT ARE BEHAVIORAL
Do you think of your mental health as interconnected to your physical health? Do you perceive how you feel as part of your overall health?
- Behavioral health disorders are conditions within the most complex organ in our body – the brain.
- Just like physical health disorders (diabetes, heart conditions), behavioral health disorders impact our quality of life and sense of wellbeing.
- Behavioral health affects our emotions, perceptions, physical sensations, ability to learn, relationships – and ultimately, our actions and behaviors.
- Disorders in the mind are common, treatable and even preventable. They are not unlike physical health conditions.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
“MENTAL” & “BEHAVIORAL” HEALTH?
“Behavioral health” is more commonly used today because it is:
- Less attached to stigma: “mental illness” is often seen as severe, uncommon, fearful and untreatable
- More broad and includes mental health diagnoses, neuro-cognitive, developmental disorders and substance abuse
- More focused on the disruptive, harmful and/or unhealthy behaviors
HOW TO LOOK AT IT…
WHEN IT CAN’T BE SEEN
So many times, a child’s behaviors are all that we see. We wonder:
Why is this child not behaving?
What’s gotten in to him?
What’s wrong with her parents?
When compared to physical illness, you understand symptoms. A child with…
- Fever: a symptom of the flu
- Low red blood cell count: a symptom of cancer
- Imbalance of insulin: a symptom of type 1 diabetes
Yet, we don’t fault the child. He is sick and needs help.
In behavioral health, the symptoms are the behaviors. Symptoms of behavioral
health disorders in children can include:
- Frequent crying
- Tantrums or anger outbursts
- Excessive worry
- Defiance & rule-breaking
- Refusal to go to school
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor self image
- School failure
- Few friendships
- Extreme moodiness
- Confused thinking
- Changes in sleeping and eating
- Drug & alcohol use
- Loss of interest in usual activities
You know that physical illness can be caused by a variety of things:
A contagious virus can cause a cold
A genetic disorder can increase risk for cancer
A poor diet and lack of exercise can cause high cholesterol
While the causes for developing behavioral health disorders may not be fully realized today, we do understand some of the factors.
You know of many conditions that can disrupt a child’s physical health such as
Asthma, Down’s Syndrome, and Leukemia.
So, what are the disorders seen in children that can affect behavior?
Panic disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), Acute Stress Disorder
Depression, Bipolar Disorder
Autism, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Learning Disorder
Schizophrenia, Dilusional Disorder
Harmful Use of Drugs and/or Alcohol
Temporary, but impacting, response to events in life: divorce, moving, loss (less severe than trauma)