As a child who was mentally and emotionally neglected and struggled with mental health difficulties, I feel a passionate sense of urgency in advocating for mental health in children. This is an issue that is often overlooked or unaccounted for in conversations about the wellbeing and future of our children.

In my experience, I found that I was surrounded by individuals who were unaware of the existence of mental health issues in young people. As a result, I lacked support and resources to properly deal with my own struggles. With the lack of guidance, I felt alone and without the help of an adult, I was unable to properly take care of my mental health, causing it to become worse day by day.

Growing up the only place I can remember hearing about anything related to mental health is in school. Unfortunately, what I did hear I didn’t remember, and it was very rarely talked about. I didn’t get a full understand until I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and PTSD when I was 15. Truthfully, I was only diagnosed and treated because the system removed the children from our home and when interviewed my answers were concerning. I don’t regret anything I said, I told the truth because that’s how I was raised. I did however lie quite a lot more than i should have; but what can i say i was a child. I lied about the things i experienced in school and when no one was looking. I lied about the way i felt and lied when anyone would ask me if i was OK. I WAS NOT!

This is why, I’m advocating for mental health awareness to be brought into the forefront for children. We need to start having open, honest conversations about mental health and its effects and symptoms. We need to start making mental health resources available to children— regardless of their background or financial status. Above all, we need to be creating an environment where conversations surrounding mental health are normalized.

By connecting emotionally with your children and engaging in meaningful conversations, you can help them get the help they need and break the stigma surrounding mental health. We have to create safe spaces for children to express their difficulties and feelings, provide access to high quality mental health information, and equip them with coping skills on how to manage their mental health.

There is a lot of stigmas around this industry, a lot i have person seen come from the older generations. From my experience they don’t acknowledge this problem or make excuses as to why nothing should be done. Many of them with children who just based on their answers don’t speak or listen to their children. Society has been questioning why some people are allowed to have such a blessing in their lives while others; like me are not. For me personally i know it’s just not my time. When God Almighty says its time, I will be prepared. For now, he has blessed me with nieces and nephews, and I love them to bits. Even the one I don’t see.

We have to understand that mental health issues in children come from all different backgrounds and is not exclusive to a child. No matter what the circumstances may be, it’s incredibly important that we start implementing strategies that will create better social and emotional health for children.

Mental health is essential to ensure the wellbeing of all children — which is why it’s so important that we work together to create a better future for them.

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