Experts reminds parents to keep eye on kids’ mental health during summer

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Lincoln Public Schools students’ last day of the year is approaching, and mental health awareness for children is a priority.

CHI Health’s director of behavioral health services, Dave Miers, reminds parents that “keeping your child connected” can prevent mental health struggles.

“There’s a lot of research that says the more connected our youth are, the less the likely they’re going to need mental health or substance use support,” Miers said.

Another expert at Nebraska Mental Health Centers, Lisa Logsden, said the age group of school-age children that is most likely to experience mental health problems is middle school children.

“As we get into middle school, that developmental stage, it’s really important to be cool … just like everybody else, which can make that a little bit more difficult, and so we may need a little bit more encouragement,” she said.

So try to recognize the signs of depression, anxiety and stress before they become problems.

Miers said to monitor your child’s sleep schedule because it can point toward a depressive state in your child, which should be carefully watched.

“You’re seeing their new sleep patterns during the summer, and they’re just wanting to stay in bed, that’s a red flag,” he said.

If you find cause for concern about your child’s mental state during the summer, “take action right away,” Miers said.

“Talk to your youth and just ask them, ‘I’m noticing these behaviors and I’m noticing these things that are happening. Can you tell me what’s going on, how are you feeling?’ ” he said. “And just be a good listener and talk with them.”

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