Grace, will you tell me a little about your education and background?
I received a sociology degree from Hanover College and went on to earn my MSSW at the University of Louisville. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT ) and I have worked in the field of child and family therapy for 13 years. Currently, I work as a supervisor and school-based clinician in a community mental health organization.
What do you think is most important for parents to understand about childhood/adolescent depression?
Keep on reading>
We can make up all kinds of reasons as to why it is easier to feed our kids processed food. But I am here to tell you we have been sold a bill of goods by real fine advertisers and the general population at large. Please humor me for 3 minutes of your precious Friday and read further as to why I think they are just plain ole’ wrong. When you buy real food from a farm and not a factory there is so much you don’t have to worry about.
Kids who live with depression, anxiety and/or OCD spend an extraordinary amount of time in their head. Ruminating over negative thoughts, worrying about past and future situations and focusing on scary and sad feelings leaves many children and teens zapped emotionally and physically. They are too consumed by what is happening in their mind (real or not) to focus on what is occurring outside of themselves.
Keep on reading>
Returning to school can be a trigger for many children, teens and even parents. The flexibility of the summer gives way to the rigidity of the school year and with it comes an increase in anxiety, acute and chronic stress and depression. Whether your child struggles with a clinical diagnosis or not does not take away from the impact the beginning of an academic year can have on a child’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. Make sure your child gets off to a good start when the school bell rings. Try out my ideas below:
Sleep can elude the smallest of children. Many parents struggle to maintain calm evenings in an attempt to give their little ones a restful sleep. As a result, a time for relaxing and sweet dreams turns to nightmares for all involved. Dear parents, don’t give up! Developing a healthy sleep routine will help your child throughout his/her life. Knowing how to ease themselves from relaxation into a deep slumber is a necessary skill, which leads to a healthier body and mind.
Tired from a night of intense practice, I sat on the dance floor with my friends and we laughed as we unwound the ribbons that curled around our small ankles. As we pulled our feet from our broken pointe shoes and rolled back the thin layer of pink tights, our feet reflected our exhaustion. Swollen, slightly bloodied and aching, we hardly noticed the pain as we chattered in unison. Minutes before we were pushing our bodies to exceed their limits as we flew across the dance studio, whipping our legs into the air with precise instruction from the counts of the classical music and the snap of our ballet teacher’s fingers. 1…2…3…4…, “Again, girls!” 5…6…7…8, “Again!” And so the evening would progress by the count of 8.
Gender. Gender. It seems it has become a complicated topic but one that is worthy of our attention. While we like to think boys and girls are created equal (p.s.- they are), they do differentiate when it comes to the case of depression. So turn on your listening
ears eyes. Wait, listening eyes doesn’t work. Correction: Open those pretty eagle eyes and pay close attention. The details are sometimes minor; however, it is vital we catch the little red flags that occasionally wave across our sight unbeknownst to the most astute parent.
What is the purpose of your blog? I am hoping to create a change in the conversation surrounding mental health especially for the sake of children. I grew tired of the public discourse: anti-depressants or not? I didn’t see anyone writing about nutrition. I didn’t see anyone discussing exercise. I didn’t see anyone taking a holistic angle to mental health for children and adolescents. There is so much more to add to the conversation. I wanted to open the discussion. We have to admit the medical model is not working. If it were, we wouldn’t have the statistics we have currently. A 400% increase in children using psychotropic medications since the 1980’s has not slowed the march of mental illness in America. A suicide rate that has doubled among teens in the last 10 years; a 30% increase in anxiety and depression among adolescents – these are horrifying trends. As a parent and as a therapist, I felt that we were missing some very basic connections and that is the purpose of my blog – to make the connections for people. And I want to help people. Ultimately, help as many people as I can.
Despite the best of intentions, modern parents are ushering their children by the droves into emotional mousetraps. Caught between a parent’s own desire for enmeshment and rapidly shifting societal norms, children are left ill-equipped to navigate the spectrum of their own emotions. The trends tell a story of children and adolescents, who are facing suicidal ideation and behavior; children who are medicated by the truckloads; children who are – for loss of a better word, unraveling.