SAN ANGELO, Texas — Back to school time can be a challenge for children and parents. Especially with still enduring a pandemic and rising costs because of inflation.
Ahead of the first day of school, experts are prioritizing mental health of parents and children.
Mental health expert Toby Slough said children don’t fall into mental wellness, they have to walk into it.
“As parents, our role is to be intentional about creating an environment where kids of all ages can thrive in their mental wellness. Give places where not that you can remove the uncertainty, but teach them how to navigate in uncertainty” Slough explained.
One in five children ages 13-18 have, or will have a serious mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
In Texas, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reports 8.0% of children ages 3-17 received mental health care in 2020. This, compared to 10.8% of children in the U.S. Nationally, many children with mental health needs do not receive mental health care.
This is why the San Angelo Independent School District announced a new partnership with Care Solace, a program to help navigate through what can be a challenging process in finding mental health resources and assistance for parents and students.
“One of the most difficult things for families and for counselors on the front lines and clinical practitioners on the frontlines. Helping students is as is how to navigate finding mental health access and finding support,” Care Solace founder and CEO, Chad Castruita, said.
Castruita went on to explain why he created this program. Whenever families do seek assistance for their child, they give up searching because some counseling services have a wait time of three to six months and have difficulty with insurance.
Bullying is one of the most common issues that affects children's mental health during school and even at home on social media. Experts advise parents to be adamant on keeping track of their child's online usage and communicate with their child about what’s going on in their life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said some signs parents should look out for in their child.
Feeling sad or anxious often or all the time
Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun
Feeling irritable‚ easily frustrated‚ or restless
Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
Waking up too early or sleeping too much
Eating more or less than usual or having no appetite
If you or a family member are looking for help with mental health or substance abuse, Care Solace will quickly connect you to community providers matched to your needs 24/7/365, including during the summer.