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Mental health as explained by the World Health Organization (WHO) is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” There is a growing mental health crisis among teenagers and adolescents in the United States, as data indicates that from 2001 to 2019 the suicide rate for American teens from ages 10 to 19 jumped 40 percent, and emergency room visits for self-harm raised 88 percent. In 2001, the Report of the Surgeon Generals’ Conference on Children’s Mental Health first identified family involvement as a guiding principle to improve children’s mental health services and outcomes. 

What Is Family?

Family is defined as “a group of two or more persons related by birth, marriage, or adoption who live together; all such related persons are considered as members of one family.” Family relationships can have a profound effect on mental health, behavior, as well as physical heath. Depending on the nature of family relationships, one’s mental health can be enhanced or negatively impacted. When family relationships are stable and supportive, they can have positive effects on one’s mental health, as they can provide resources that can help a family member learn to cope with stress, engage in healthier behaviors, and cultivate improved self-esteem. In a healthy family unit, family members can rely on each other for emotional support, economic support, and companionship.

How To Enhance Family Engagement

When one member of a family system is suffering, it affects the entire system, which is why engaging families in the mental health treatment process of a child is advantageous. Further, because caregivers play a crucial role in the physical and emotional development of their children, it is critical for parents to be involved in their child’s mental health treatment. Data collected from a variety of studies identify that, in general, successful engagement were:

  • Individualized and addressed families’ particular needs, concerns, and barriers
  • Intensive, addressing engagement at multiple time-points, with multiple family members, and in multiple ways as families progressed in treatment 
  • Developed from a strong theoretical framework
  • Integrated seamlessly into the underlying treatment or prevention program structure

Families’ ambivalence about treatment can be minimized through employing a personalized and collaborative approach that conveys respect and understanding for families’ struggles surrounding treatment.

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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