How young is too young for mental health counseling?

ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s estimated that 13 to 20 percent of children living in the U.S. have experienced a mental disorder.

In a poll in 2021, 62% of parents said there was a change in their child’s mental well-being because of remote learning.

The headlines are terrifying, but not unusual: A first grader commits suicide. A young Texas boy loses his battle against depression. A 12-year-old is bullied so badly he took his own life.

Among children aged two to eight years old, boys were more likely than girls to have a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.

Among children living below the federal poverty level, the CDC reports one in five children experience a mental disorder. So how young is too young to seek help for your child who is struggling?

Treatment can start as young as age two.

Play therapy is helpful for kids three to five years old, as it can help young kids.

“Play therapy can be a preventative approach of really working with those young children so that they don’t develop those depressive symptoms or those, you know, anxious symptoms later in life where, you know, it might be more of a diagnosis,” Dele Taylor, associate professor at UCF said.

To gauge whether you should put your child into therapy or not, look for warning signs like difficulty completing basic needs, trouble engaging with other kids, and if they struggle to maintain friendships. Talk to their teachers, caregivers, and friends. They can give you an outside point of view.

Among the more common mental disorders in childhood are ADHD, anxiety, and behavior disorders, and for children diagnosed with depression, three out of four of them also suffered from anxiety.

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