Winona, MN (WXOW) – Psychologists estimate one in four adolescents struggle with some form of a mental
health condition, problems that can lead to life-changing situations if not managed properly.
Mental health affects people in many ways, with a variety of conditions that can make an impact.
With the constantly developing brain of a child, it’s vital caretakers are aware of potential warning signs of emerging mental health problems.
Licensed Psychologist Lori Kuenn of Hiawatha Valley Mental Health advises that more time spent interacting with the children in your life may highlight some early signs of potential problems.
“Talking with them, checking in with them, having conversations,” Kuenn elaborates.
Kuenn says conversations of any kind can benefit children.
“They don’t always have to be about mental health, they can be about their day and what’s going on in their life. I think in having those conversations with adults checking in with adolescents we get a better idea of what’s going on in their world,” Kuenn adds.
With the broad range of conditions included under mental-health problems ranging from anxiety and depression to schizophrenia, Kuenn says looking for abrupt changes in adolescent’s behavior can help catch developing issues.
“Isolation concerns me as far as what that’s about. I’m not saying if your child isolates you should be concerned, but if it’s a change in who they are I would pay attention to that a little bit. I would think about their sleeping, I would think about their mood, if they’re more irritable,” Kuenn advises.
If anyone notices uncharacteristic alterations in a child close to them, Kuenn says a good first step is to contact their school to monitor their behavior further and connect them to the necessary resources.
For additional mental health resources, contact the La Crosse County Health Department at (608) 785-5875.