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We have come a long way as a society, however, this is not always a good thing. While our society seems to be advancing in great strides, the rates of childhood mental illness seem to be skyrocketing, which is a scary thing.

As a parent, there is nothing worse than witnessing your child dealing with a major struggle. Thankfully, some experts can help. One expert, in particular, is Dr. Christina Johns, and she is a board-certified emergency pediatrician who also works as the Senior Medical Advisor for PM Pediatric Care. PM Pediatric Care is a national organization that works to provide urgent care and telemedicine to children and young adults across the country.

In an in-depth interview with Scary Mommy, Dr. Johns spoke in depth about mental health and what parents can do to help their struggling children.

Since the pandemic, Dr. Johns says that from isolation to very real fear, it’s normal for there to be a major impact on mental health. “Isolation, fear, anxiety about the future, and disruption of normal life can all hurt mental health and wellness,” she explains. “Put that together with front-row personal exposure to significant illness and loss of loved ones,” Dr. Johns says, “and all of these factors have come together in the last couple of years to create a maelstrom of mental health issues among youth.”

Her most important tip is to NOT wait to take action. “It’s a lot easier to dress and bandage a cut the moment it happens than to deal with an infected wound that has been left untreated for days,” she says. Instead, she says to encourage open communication about how your child is feeling, so you can be on top of things. While kids are small, their feelings are big, she says. “The first step [to getting help] is always a conversation with the child,” Dr. Johns says. “Children should feel agency in their mental wellbeing, so it’s ok to ask them for input on how best to find a solution.”

Additionally, you need to watch for behavioral changes. If you notice something off, confront it healthily. If you notice something, she encourages speaking with their doctor immediately. You and your child are never alone, and the right support is available. Thankfully, no matter what the struggle, kids are resilient and the faster you get them help, the easier things will be