ver thirty-five years ago I remember hearing about the increase number of children with ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I then decided to read as many books as I could check-out of the library on the subject, and attend as many seminars as I could find - all this in hope of educating myself on the disorder that was getting more and more attention each day.
My goal was to better equip myself to help children in my classroom that came to me with an ADHD diagnosis. As a young teacher I soon realized that ADHD wasn’t a new condition, but rather relabeled from hyperkinetic impulse disorder. I also learned that it was in the late 1960 that the American Psychiatric Associate labeled ADHD as a mental disorder.
Since my early years of teaching, I now see the growing need to help teachers tackle not only ADHD, but other Mental Health (MH) conditions like Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Eating Disorders, Suicidal Tendency, and more. Where do we begin to tackle this growing crisis? Do we begin with the children, or perhaps with the parents, or should we train all teachers to better understand MH conditions and equip them with strategies? I would probably answer “YES” to all of the above. However, we also need to better understand why there is a growing number of children from 3 -17 years-old who are exhibiting signs of MH concerns. Yes, you are reading the age range correctly, some children are exhibiting signs of MH conditions as young as 3 years old.
Mental Health conditions can become chronic if they are not addressed during the early years, and can continue into adulthood. Early intervention is the key to helping our children live fulfilling and productive adult lives. Sadly, our country is failing our children and we are waiting too long to address this MH crisis. The overwhelming number of adults struggling with MH problems is a reminder that often we wait too long to take action. So, are you ready to join me in tackling the growing Mental Health concern in our schools?
Evelyn Sullivan, M.Ed.
Director of Early Childhood Education and R.E.A.C.H.
Evelyn Sullivan is the Director of Early Childhood Education for North American Division. She spent many years teaching young children to love to learn. She has combined her passion for teaching and administration to promote the importance of early childhood education.
Are We Ready to Tackle
Mental Health Issues
in Our Schools?
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