The holidays can take a serious toll on the mental health of you and your little ones! While for some, they can be a joyful time, for others it’s quite overwhelming. And, if you or your child struggle with mental health issues, it can be a recipe for disaster if you don’t take the steps to prepare yourself.
In the United States, 1 in 5 adults experience mental health issues every year. So, as you begin making your holiday list, don’t forget to add your mental health to the top of it. In the U.S, 64% of people with mental health issues report that the holidays make their symptoms worse due to feelings of loneliness and increased stress. And, in the state of Montana we have the highest rate of suicide in the nation.
According to Mentor Manager, Kerry McKenzie, many of the parents of kids Youth Dynamics serves also struggle with their own mental health issues. In the U.S., 1 in 6 kids ages 6 – 17 struggle with mental illness. To complicate things further, many youth struggling with behavioral health disorders experience increased symptoms over their holiday break due to the loss of structure that school provides. Kerry adds that as caregiver’s stress levels increases, it affects the way they interact with their kids, leading to further increased behaviors in children.
Understanding mental health is the key. Mental Health is your general well-being and state of mind. Something that has to be looked after. Mental Illness is simply something that disrupts your mental state and interrupts how you feel. Oftentimes, the holidays are a trigger. But, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Simply remembering to take care of yourself during the holidays is one of the most important things you can do whether you have been diagnosed with a mental illness or not. Why? Because, if you do not take care of yourself, you won’t have anything left to give to anyone else. Unfortunately, many people learn this the hard way.
As they begin preparing for Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas and a New Year very quickly the stress can add up on both parents and children. It is important to learn the warning signs…Stress may show in your physical health in the form of headaches, stomachaches, sleep disturbances, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, a short temper, aching muscles, even a loss of appetite. These changes in behavior can affect not only your family life but also your work performance.
Youth Dynamics Therapist, Beck Jones says, “There are many things that caregivers can do to help reduce behaviors in their kids over the holidays, and thus reduce stress in the home”. Beck’s tips include sticking to a routine, limiting sugar for youth, and practicing grounding techniques. Beck went on to discuss the importance of self-care for parents, adding that parents will better be able to support their kids if they take care of themselves. Learning to take these small steps can add up to a happy holiday!
1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34
If you have a child who is struggling, please contact us today through our website or by calling 406-245-6539. We’ve been serving Montana families for the past forty years via our 30 locations and look forward to supporting you.