Helping children cope with anxiety and mood disorders

Posted at 12:14 PM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 15:06:59-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The world has been in flux over the past few years which has not been easy on anyone, especially our kids. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and there certainly seems to be more need than ever to recognize and even rebrand the way we think about our mental health.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 6 U.S. youth experience a mental health condition each year, and only half of them receive treatment. Fifty percent of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.

Hypnotherapist Kristine Ovsepian says, "So many have been struggling, and it starts spiraling into depression and anxiety."

To help start off by reminding them what they can do, not what they can't.

"I have truly learned how to rephrase every word so that we're holding positive space for our kids and not creating so many rules because there are already so many rules," explains Ovsepian. She says ease up on the rules but still set limits, if they don't comply, distraction is your best friend.

When they are feeling anxious, have them draw their happy place. She explains, "When we close our eyes, we go into our inner world and our inner world is just so magical."

Limit device usage and re-connect as a family, "Too many kids are in their rooms, locked up and door closed and they go into their deep, heavy world," says Ovsepian.

Most of all, talk to your kids. even if they don't want to talk, they know you are there and will come to you when they're ready.

Children's Hospital Colorado hosted a virtual town hall event on Thursday, May 5 to discuss mental health issues and children, live streamed to the hospital's Facebook page.

It was almost one year ago that Children’s Hospital Colorado declared a youth mental health emergency. Now, as day-to-day life, in general, is beginning to feel more normal after the pandemic the kids' mental health crisis is still on the rise.

  • Suicide is still a leading cause of death for Colorado kids, starting at age 10.
  • 47% more kids came to Colorado emergency departments due to a mental health crisis in early 2022 than in 2021.
  • Self-harm or suicide attempts are among the top reasons that patients seek mental health care in our emergency departments

Free videos to help kids and parents manage anxiety & stress