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Resources for Attending to the Mental Health of Young Children

In pursuit of our mission, Groves has created a new Mental Health and Support Resources webpage to further assist parents, guardians, and caregivers as they seek to support their child’s mental health.

We’ve gathered information and links to resources on an array of mental health topics including the effects of trauma on children. We’ve included signs to look for when recognizing trauma by observing children’s reactions in stressful situations. We’ve also included information about the 3 Levels of Stress and understanding stress and resilience in children. You’ll find links to a video series from Head Start explaining how high levels of stress can impact a child’s well-being, plus a list of links to mental health resources, related articles, and parent and caregiver support groups.

Tending to the mental health of young children is a priority that can become a struggle even during “normal” events. New and sometimes traumatic experiences, such as those most of us have experienced this past year, may cause additional or new fears and anxieties. Young children are just learning to express their feelings with accuracy. Because of this, they let you know how they are feeling through their behaviors.

The Effects of Trauma

The website Effects of Trauma: Managing Challenging Behaviors, by Head Start/ECCLKC, provides additional information about children who were exposed to trauma and ways to support them.

Recognizing Trauma

Students may react to stressful situations in one or more of the following ways:

  • Change in regular sleep patterns including nightmares
  • Change in eating habits
  • Becoming clingy, whiny, angry, or sad
  • Physical complaints without illness
  • Fears (of the dark, being alone, or strangers)

3 Levels of Stress

When children experience stress that is excessive and prolonged it can interfere with their developing brains. The Center on the Developing Child describes three levels of stress:

  • Positive—when stress helps a child learn to cope with challenges.
  • Tolerable—when a child has a supportive environment and relationships with adults.
  • Toxic—when stress is prolonged and there is no adult emotionally available for support.

Understanding Stress and Resilience in Children

Children who are more resilient in the face of adversity are better able to cope with negative situations that arise throughout their lives. One critical factor in building a child’s resilience is the presence of adults who support them during hardships.

Relationships with family and community members who provide warmth and support during challenging situations help a child learn strategies for coping. Helping children learn these strategies early can have lifelong impacts.

This video series, also from Head Start, explains how high levels of stress can impact a child’s well-being.

Mental Health Resources:

Child Mind Institute

Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health

Association for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy- Therapist Finder

NAMI – National Alliance for Mental Health

ADDitude (ADHD Resources)

International OCD Foundation

ATTACh Parent Online Support (Association for the Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children)

Related Articles

From Child Mind Institute- Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety

What to Say to Kids When the News Is Scary

Helping Children Cope with Frightening News

How to Talk to Children After a Traumatic Event

Helping Children & Adolescents Cope with Traumatic Events

Talking to Children about Racial Bias

Talking to Young Children about Race and Racism: A Discussion Guide (PBS)

How White Parents Can Talk To Their Children About Race

COVID-19 Resources – MACMH

Parent / Caregiver Support Groups

  • Rogers Behavioral Health in Eden Prairie and St. Paul
    Parent and Caregiver Support Group for OCD and Anxiety

    • Eden Prairie Group will take place on the second Tuesday of each month, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
    • St. Paul Group will take place on the third Tuesday of every month from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

    Those interested in attending may email Kathryn.Fitzgerald@rogersbh.org or call 651-485-5859 to RSVP. After you RSVP, you will receive a link to join the virtual Teams meeting.

    Psychology Consultation Specialists offers a monthly ADHD Parent Support Group
    This is a virtual support group at this time. Please call 763-559-7050 to reserve your spot. $10/per family. Space is limited.

 


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