This week is National Child Mental Health Awareness Week. Before having Abby I never thought about children having issues with mental health. I have studied pediatric mental disorders in college and graduate school but never gave it much thought. Now I am a parent of a child with a mental health issue. In coming years she will likely receive a diagnosis but not yet, she's too young.
The more people I talk to the more I realize that people are generally ignorant to how to deal with a child who suffers from a mental illness. Their ability to deal with that child's parent is even worse. What someone sees as bad behavior or defience or bad parenting might easily be ADD, ADHD, Autism, Asperger's, Depression, OCD or a myriad of other diagnoses.
Do you know that over 15 million children in this country have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder? Do you know how many of those children and parents are treated horribly because of people's general ignorance?
To learn more about this you can check out The Child Mind Institute's initiative Speak Up For Kids.