A Mother's Love
Deanna Lee Thacker - PCA-Intern
May 30, 2018
I remember the day, only four short years ago, that I became a mother. The moment the doctor handed me my tiny, helpless, precious son I knew that there was not a thing that I wouldn't be willing to do to for my child. The feeling of his soft breath on my neck as he trustingly fell asleep on my chest for the first time, I gazed in awestruck wonder onto his sweet innocent face and made a promise, in my heart, to do all that I could do to ensure his health and safety. Speaking with many moms, this is a commonly shared sentiment, but all too often the reality (streamed across the news stations of another tragedy in our schools) is that the sentiment is sometimes lost in translation. I honestly believe that parents, like myself, are well meaning but may lack the resources or knowledge to ensure the total health of their children.
One out of five Americans has a mental illness with less than half receiving correlated services. This number is more astonishing for children, in my opinion, because children are just as helpless as newborns in self-care for mental health topics as they rely on their parents to guide them in the direction in which they need to take. The symptoms for many of the mental health concerns facing children and adolescents today share similar signs. Mental health concerns can present themselves in a variety of ways which are often noticeable to family and friends. Signs such as isolation and withdrawal from previously enjoyed activities, mood swings, anger, irritation, lack of sleep or oversleeping, discussing death or killing oneself, and giving away one’s possessions are all indicators of a person at risk of mental health concerns (SAVE, 2018). Changes in eating habits, becoming lethargic, and difficulty concentrating are other signs of a mental health concern. The signs and symptoms of individuals with thoughts of self- harm or harm of others may also include past disciplinary problems, past victimization of violence, having extreme feelings of rejection, possessing severe prejudicial thoughts, and gang affiliation (Dwyer, Osher, & Warger, 1998). While an individual may not display all of these symptoms, the gravity and duration are more significant in determination if an individual has a mental health concern (WebMD, 2015-2018).
Knowledge is key in helping our children. Without knowledge of the signs of a mental health concern, parents may confuse them with normal developmental behaviors. Let’s be honest, what parent hasn’t seen their child moody? It is sometimes comedic the moods my child displays when he misses a nap or when he realized that Mommy will not let him wear his favorite sweater and winter coat to the playground in the middle of summer. Parenting can be overwhelming at times for all parents. You are not alone on your parenting journey. If you are someone you love has exhibited any of the above symptoms, please reach out for help. Palmetto Counseling Associates has trained professionals that can help with the mental health concerns of your child or you. Please reach out today either by calling (803) 254-9767 or setting up an appointment on our website at palmettocounseling.com.
Dwyer, K., Osher, D., & Warger, C. (1998). Early warning, timely response: A guide to safe schools.
SAVE. (2018). Warning signs of suicide. Retrieved from https://save.org/about-suicide/warning-signs-risk-factors-protective-factors/
WebMD. (2005-2018). Causes and symptoms of depression. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-symptoms-causes#1