Your Child’s Mental Health: Myths and Facts

Published in Winter 2017

As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. If your child starts to exhibit concerning behaviors, or if you suspect that they are struggling with a mental health problem, it’s important to know the facts. The Community Psychiatry Program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center has providers who specialize in treating children and adolescents. They work closely with families to dispel common myths and to provide accurate information about effective treatment. Below are a few of the most common myths.

Myth: Children don’t experience mental health problems. They are either moody or “going through a stage.”

Fact: While there is some crossover between symptoms of mental health disorders and the stages of pre-adult development, a parent should not assume that “moodiness” or other signs of distress are benign. Mood, anxiety and attention-related disorders can affect children, and the symptoms can be severe. “Left untreated, children may suffer unnecessarily and are at greater risk for additional health disorders over time,” says Ryan Moore, a licensed clinical social worker.

Myth: Taking a child to therapy is a waste of time.

Fact: Many effective forms of therapy exist. Moore advocates for a strong alliance between provider and family to help everyone cope more effectively and feel better.

Myth: My child just needs a prescription medication to take care of the problem.

Fact: Medication can be helpful, but is not always part of a treatment plan for children. Moore advises that the best plan may include medicine, but will also involve attention to the quality of relationships, coping patterns, environmental stressors and other factors influencing your child’s ability to function.

If you think your child would benefit from mental health services, call 410-550-0104.