A research study released in 2010 by the University of Massachusetts claims that nearly 1 million children have been misdiagnosed with ADHD. According to the study, they suggests that this occurs because the child is usually the youngest and least mature student in its class. If this happens with one learning disability, imagine the numbers if we looked at mental health in children across the board.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center wrote an article stating that gifted and talented children are often misdiagnosed with mental health disorders due to their personality traits being misunderstood. Students with high IQ’s and high reasoning skills face several challenges with school and home life. This includes boredom, disregard for rules and traditions, depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness. Gifted and talented children are keenly aware of the world around them, leading them to being moody. This is a trait seen in those with depression and often leads to a diagnosis in children with these traits.
High school students at Mountain Green high School in Lakewood, Colorado have been writing books that help teach adolescents ways to communicate how they feel. According to an article written by Nelson Garcia, the students hoped to combat adolescent suicide by giving young kids tools to talk about their feelings without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. The book titled “Dear Parents, From Kids” has a workbook and coloring pages.
With adults becoming more educated about mental health, it is important to spread this change to teens and young adults. Having an open line of communication is important and making children feel comfortable talking about their feelings from an early age will increase diagnosis and treatment options.
Depression knows no age. Although mood swings may be attributed to normal hormone changes, if these mood swings keep your child from completing everyday tasks or it lasts more than two weeks at a time, it may be time to talk to a health professional. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 100,000 children ages 10 to 14 die by suicide each year. This is a staggering and often shocking number. Being aware of the risks and reality of childhood depression is key in changing this number.