The mental health of children is a topic we as adults never talk about among ourselves, and we never talk about with our children. It is a missing piece of knowledge without which our children can be in mortal peril.

How often do we learn of the suicide of a young person who, by everyone’s estimation, was a perfect child? How often do children turn to substance abuse as a way of dealing with thoughts that frighten them and they have no way of coping with them?

Unwanted, intrusive and frightening thoughts are part of the human condition. How we deal with them is a response that can be learned, and our children need to be taught how to cope with them, and how to seek help. Parents should be able to discuss this with their children without fear or embarrassment, and many schools have wellness curricula that speak to numerous topics about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This could be the forum for first consultation with mental health experts and parents on an appropriate way, and how best to include this topic in the curriculum, and then addressing this topic with children.

Tom Dunn


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