Mental health conditions in children growing at an alarming rate

By  | 

WACO, Texas (KWTX) One in seven children and teens has a mental health condition and nearly half go untreated according to a recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics.

The study found that out of the 46.6 million children whose parents completed a survey, 7.7 million children had at least one mental health condition, whether it was depression or an attention deficit disorder.

The study found that 49.4 percent of children go untreated.

Dr. Elias Barghash, a clinical psychologist at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center, said there are many factors that may contribute to mental health going undiagnosed or untreated.

He said many people don't know what to look for and in some cases parents may not want to believe their children could be dealing with mental health conditions.

That’s why Barghash said it’s important for parents to observe their child’s behavior.

“As kids are developing and they are quote on quote acting out that can be considered normal… but it also may not be,” Barghash said.

He also said important signs for parents to look for is a drop their children’s school performance and their children acting abnormally.

“Acting out can be more explosive or more kind of the quiet down, the acting out is a very tell-tell sign across the board,” Barghash said.

Barghash recommends that parents who notice some changes in their children’s behavior seek help from a professional.

He said his primary advice to parents who are rearing a child with a mental health condition is to listen and be understanding.

Barghash said parents always want what is best for their child so they may interject advice, but sometimes it’s best to sit back.

“You can ask questions but if you're interrupting every time your child starts to talk or you want to correct them or sort of help them to think a little differently even if that's coming from a good place you could really overlook what your child is trying to say,” Barghash said.

He recommends keeping an open line of communication with you children so they fell comfortable expressing their feelings.