PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics has new recommendations for doctors to recognize and help kids deal with mental disorders. It is estimated that one in every five children suffers from a mental disorder like ADHD, depression, and anxiety, which could impact their health as they enter adulthood.
Experts, however, say not enough children receive the treatment and services that they need, but that could now be changing.
Eighteen-year-old Kennedy Campbell has been dealing with anxiety since she was in day care at age 3.
“I didn’t talk to anyone. They just thought I was really shy,” Campbell says.
Her anxiety would leave her unable to speak and doctors finally diagnosed her with an anxiety disorder known as selective mutism.
“Talking is like overwhelming and a lot of people with this disorder don’t speak outside of the home,” Campbell added.
“It would have been helpful if the doctors had diagnosed her earlier,” Campbell’s mother, Theresa Wilson Coney, says.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new report that provides pediatricians with guidance on how to help children with mental health challenges.
“There is a huge shortage of children and adolescent psychiatrists and increasing prevalence of these problems,” Dr. Cori Green says. “We can help play a more effective role so that more children get recognized and into treatment.”
The report calls on pediatricians to look for and address trauma along with other threats to children’s mental health.
“The big disorders that are more prevalent and probably within the scope of a pediatrician are things like ADHD, anxiety, and depression,” Dr. Green said.
Campbell founded Arts for Anxiety, which encourages people to use the arts to help with their symptoms.
“I feel very happy that I can inspire children and let them know they aren’t alone dealing with this anxiety because I felt alone,” Campbell says.
She also receives counseling and therapy which she says has helped her overcome her anxiety and find her voice.
Experts say that it is important for parents to be aware of mental health symptoms and encourage their children to talk about their feelings and seek professional help if necessary.
To read the full report, click here.