EPIC Blog: When to Ask for Help with Mental Health - 4KIDS
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EPIC Blog: When to Ask for Help with Mental Health

April 1st, 2023 l Author: Terri Galindo, edited by Michele Rogan

Oftentimes, health is viewed as solely physical. If someone is not in good health, the thought immediately goes to sickness, whether it be a chronic illness, a fever, or stomach ache, but health encompasses so much more than just the physical. God created us as entire beings. Whole health includes mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical.

Did you know that over 80% of children in foster care experience significant mental health needs? That number is staggering, and many times these children can’t express the emotional pain they may be feeling. There are several signs to be on the lookout for in order to know whether a child is struggling with mental health, but the first thing to know is what good mental health looks like. There are different stages of development as a child grows up, but an important thing to start with is the relationship the child has with mom or dad. Connection is at the forefront of growth and healing, so ask yourself questions like, Does the child have trust? Or Is the child able to express needs and communicate those needs? These questions will only propel that growth.

Beyond just the household, taking a look at interactions the child has with extended family members, youth leaders, or school teachers is also a great indicator of mental health. Can the child play well with other children? Is he or she able to play with minimal conflict? Does the child make eye contact or smile in interactions with others? Play is the first language a child develops, so watching how he or she is able to work through play and seeing how he or she enjoys the process is very important.

For an older child, decision-making can be a sign of mental health as well. Is the child able to focus on school, play, and relationships? Can the child go to bed on time and sleep through the night? Does the child eat well? Can the child handle multiple tasks at once?

The first step to determining if a child is struggling with mental health is to watch. Build that connection and relationship so you are able to notice little actions throughout the day that fall into the development plan for that child. Now that you know what to be looking for, and the little nuances of good mental health, next time, we’ll focus on the signs that could indicate that a child needs help with his mental health. Until then if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the 4KIDS EPIC Team.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7