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Emotional Distress in Children: Tips and Resources from Friends of Youth

Friends of Youth offers information for families and communities about signs of distress that can point to mental health issues.

Sammamish and Issaquah have had a lot to deal with in the last couple of years, as several young people from both cities and several schools have become victims of suicide, including recent suicides by teens who attended both Eastlake High School and Skyline High School. Skyline High School faced a cyberthreat that was allegedly perpetrated by a former student. One Issaquah 12-year-old was sentenced for Facebook cyberbullying in 2011.

Though some high profile tragedies have involved Skyline lately, it is far from the only area school with issues. One Patch reader wrote to us that several suicides have occurred in recent years in Woodinville, for example.

Whenever there is a tragedy that befalls a school community, such as a suicide of a young person, or the recent school shooting in Connecticut, many questions are raised about how this could be prevented, specifically with respect to mental health, Friends of Youth says. What help is available to children or young people struggling with mental health problems, and what more could we do as a community and as parents to intervene and help?

Mental health signs and symptoms can range from very subtle to the extreme. The sooner a child or youth receives help the greater the likelihood that a trained professional can successfully treat the issues or problems.

Parents and caring adults are key to early intervention and treatment. aware of are:

            ·  Extreme changes in mood

            ·  Signs of continued sadness or lethargy

            ·  Angry outbursts and impulsiveness

            ·  Threats to do harm to self or others

            ·  Indifference to activities or special events

            ·  Isolating from the family

            ·  Limited or no friends or lack of interest in activities

            ·  Falling grades

            ·  Difficulties in school (no interest in school or school activities)

Some frequent signs and symptoms to be

Children and adolescents need people and places to go that are emotionally safe, where they're able to discuss their feelings and their thoughts honestly and openly.

If you are noticing dramatic changes and your child or youth is not communicating with you, instead becoming increasingly distant, or withdrawn, this may be a sign that they need additional support and help.

The good news is that there are resources available both in the schools and the community throughout the King County area. Friends of Youth is one of those resources. We provide mental -health counseling to children and youth. We offer individual, group and family counseling. Counseling includes dealing with grief and loss, issues of depression or anxiety, communication, conflict resolution, trauma, alcohol and drug abuse or addiction.

Most services Friends of Youth offers are low-cost or are offered on a sliding fee scale based on the family’s ability to pay. It accepts Medicaid and bills private insurance as well. Friends of Youth can be reached via http://www.friendsofyouth.org or by calling425-869-6490.

Friends of Youth delivers a comprehensive range of therapeutic services for youth, young adults and families. With 60 years of experience, national accreditation and 20 program sites, the agency provides safe places to live and emotional support for youth and families in challenging circumstances. For more information, visit www.friendsofyouth.org.

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