Assessing your child’s mental health
Experts say that roughly 25 percent of the adolescent population is known to have some form of anxiety, and about 12 to 15 percent are dealing with depression.

That's why mental health professionals say it's important for parents to know the warning signs.

"If the kid is isolating, staying in his room all the time and doesn't talk to anybody, doesn't enjoy things that he or she would normally enjoy, or stops hanging out with friends or family, or they notice a sudden change in their behaviors at school or at home," said Dr. Aditi Garg, a psychiatrist from the WestHealth mental health clinic in Plymouth.

Tuesday, Dr. Garg was the featured speaker at Allina Health's monthly "Walk with a Doc" event at the Plymouth Creek Center, where she shared her expertise about why children and adolescents may develop issues with depression and anxiety, and talked about how parents can ensure their children get the help they need.

Help could come in the form of therapy for mild symptoms, or a combination of therapy and medication for moderate symptoms.

Dr. Garg credits schools for making it easier for children to get help.

"Some of the schools have good school counselors that do the assessments," Dr. Garg said. "So the schools are getting more aware, and as the schools are getting more aware, the parents are recognizing that this is not only their kid and they're able to ask for help."

Dr. Garg says that some other warning signs for parents to look out for whether their child's grades declining at school, or if they're getting into trouble more often.

If that's the case, the recommendation is to talk to a pediatrician for an initial assessment, or you can talk to one of Allina Health's mental health consultants. For more information, you can call (763) 577-7900.

Delane Cleveland

Jan. 3, 2017


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