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For many families, summer vacation means a welcome break from the daily grind of bus schedules, report cards, and school conferences.
But for many others, the time away can give way to worry.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five children in the U.S. shows signs of a mental health disorder—from depression and eating disorders to anxiety and addiction—and half of all lifetime cases start by age 14.
During the school year, kids are surrounded by adults monitoring their daily behaviors, moods, and habits.
And when there’s a change in the norm, there are many who take notice.
A teacher notices if a teen is unusually stressed to be the ‘perfect’ student. A coach is concerned when a team member suddenly seems uninterested in a sport they once loved. A guidance counselor witnesses outbursts of anger during class time. A parent struggles to get their child to go to school without a meltdown.
When issues arise, these adults often work together to support the student.
When the schoolyear takes a pause, underlying issues in kids can progress. And without check-ins from adults with a variety of perspectives, these issues can go unnoticed.
So how can parents check up on their children’s mental health during summer break?
“Summer presents an opportunity to reconnect with your child and learn more about what is going on in his or her life,” says Dr. Rachel Leonard, clinical director for Rogers' St. Paul location.
Dr. Leonard provides five tips for checking up on a child’s mental well-being:
Sometimes, despite a parent’s best efforts, children may need additional support with internal issues they face.
Rogers provides that next level of care. Inpatient, residential, and outpatient programs are readily available to support children and adolescents throughout the summer. Learn more about specific programs in:
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