Supporting Children and Families’ Mental Health Year Round

Summer Can Mean Increased Stress and Anxiety

For many of us, this time of year is uplifting as the sun comes out, the earth warms, flowers bloom, and our spirits lift.  For parents raising children with emotional and behavioral struggles, however, facing Summer can mean facing increased stress and anxiety.

pic1At the end of June, early childhood, elementary, and high school educational settings close for the summer.  For many families, facing ten weeks of summer with fewer supports and services for their children is a time of significant stress, because good educational programming for at-risk youth can sustain youth and family through times when a child’s behaviors are more challenging or more risky.

An Absence of Supportive Resources Over the Summer

pic2I sat with a Mom this week, who has been raising a behaviorally challenged child for many years. She described this time as one of “hanging on by my fingernails” as she works to balance expectations and support with her child and faces an absence of supportive educational and treatment resources over the summer.

Despite our knowledge that summer programming for young children can enhance and support their development, while summer programming for older kids and teens can keep them out of harm’s way and help them build valuable workforce-related skills, our communities still struggle to find the economic support to fund these important programs.

pic3May is Mental Health Month, and our nation is focused on offering support to those who struggle with emotional and behavioral issues.  But June is the beginning of “No School Months” and more struggle for many families.  Let’s make every month in our communities a month that provides meaningful support so that children can be healthy, happy and productive, and families can receive the support they need to thrive.