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Young Children's Mental Health

Posted by rpd03 on July 9, 2014 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Young Children’s Mental Health: What Is Essential? 

When we think of children's health, we usually think of their physical well-being. "Are they active and fit? Do they get sick often?" Mental health is just as important as physical health. "Mental health" includes how we feel about ourselves and other people, and how we cope with life. Mental health in young children is related to their social and emotional development. Caregivers, teachers, and family members all have roles to play in fostering young children's mental health.

Tip Sheet

For good mental health, young children need—

safe places to live and play

the right amount of healthy food to eat

love, care, and comfort from caregivers and family members

plenty of time for active play with other children

time to relax and follow their own interests

caregivers and teachers who are supportive and encouraging

experiences that help them feel confident and capable

time to express and understand their own emotions

guidance and discipline that are firm but not harsh

A child's mental health is probably good if he or she usually—

seems to feel safe and comfortable rather than fearful

shows a range of emotions, both positive and negative

is interested in other people's well-being and treats them with respect

treats animals with kindness

can "bounce back" from disappointments or frustrations

can show anger without hurting self or others

chooses to act in ways that are safe

uses positive ways to get attention

stands up for himself or herself

gets involved in activities at home and in the classroom

is willing to try new things (activities, foods, friendships, etc.)

will persist when trying a challenging task

can express feelings to some trusted person, instead of keeping them "bottled up"

Factors that might contribute to a child's mental health problems include—

illness or genetic factors

exposure to lead, mercury, or other environmental poisons

abuse or neglect

natural disaster that disrupts family life

exposure to violence in the family or community

difficulties related to poverty

serious family problems, including divorce or death of a loved one

Stages of Social Emotional Development

Posted by rpd03 on July 7, 2014 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Social-emotional development is the cornerstone to all areas of development. Greenspan’s theory of emotional development is broken down into 8 stages that build upon one another; these are referred to as “functional emotional developmental capacities” [FEDC] (Bayat, 2012). The first 6 stages span from birth to 5 years of age and are briefly explained below:

1) Self-regulation and Shared Attention (birth to 2 months of age) In this stage, the infant expresses interest in the world around him/her through the senses—visual, auditory, taste and sense of movement (Greenspan & DeGangi 2001). Gomez, Baird and Jung (2004), report research shows “regulatory disorders are predictive of difficulties in the areas of social-emotional development”. Gomez (2004), go on to state that identification and intervention of regulatory disorders hosts many benefits, including eligibility for early intervention services, access to family support services, and “well-defined goals for intervention planning” (Gomez, 2004, p.32).

2) Engagement and Relating (2 to 5 months): In this stage, infants who have mastered the first stage—are able to remain alert and calm—now can form closer relationships with their caregiver(s). At this stage, infants are more interested in interacting with their primary caregiver and can differentiate between their primary caregiver and others (Greenspan & Shanker, 2007). Some simple interactions we see at this stage are: eye contact, a social smile and movement of the limbs in response to a caregiver’s voice (Greenspan, & DeGangi, 2001).

3) Intentionality and Two-way Communication (4 to 10 months of age): In this stage, infants begin to engage in two-way purposeful interactions; every time that they engage in reciprocal communication with their caregiver they close “a circle of communication” (Bayat, 2012, p.190). Greenspan states that a circle of communication begins by one person initiating communication and the other person responding appropriately. At this stage, infants learn that they can manipulate their environment through crying, vocalizing and eye gaze. Infants begin to gain more understanding of the social aspects of language--pragmatics—in these higher level interactions the (Greenspan & Shanker, 2007).

4) Shared Social Problem Solving (9 to 18 months of age): In this stage, infants begin to use symbols and gesture to communicate (Bayat, 2012). For example, children at this stage combine gesture (pointing) and vocalization to show the adult what he/she wants.

5) Creating Symbols and Using Words (18 months to 2.5 years of age): At this stage, children have developed simple language and motor skills and engage in symbolic play (Bayat, 2012). Now, instead of crying when she feels hungry as she would have done when she was infant, she may request food using one word and intonation (i.e. “milk”, or by pointing to milk and using a two-word utterance (i.e.“mommy milk”).

6) Building Bridges Between Ideas (2.5 years to 5 years of age): In this stage children begin to differentiate their own ideas/thoughts and emotions from those of others and begin to differentiate their actions from those of others (Greenspan, & DeGangi, 2001). By doing this, children begin forming logical connections between events which leads to the creation of new social skills (Greenspan & Shanker, 2007).


Happy 4th of July!!

Posted by rpd03 on July 5, 2014 at 1:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers these common sense safety tips for using consumer fireworks in the hopes that injuries to consumers can be greatly reduced this season:

•Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.

•Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.

•Fireworks should only be used outdoors.

•Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.

•Know your fireworks. Read the caution label before igniting.

•Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

•Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.

•Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.

•Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

•Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.

•Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you!

•Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department

And note these special safety tips, if using sparklers:

•Always remain standing while using sparklers.

•Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.

•Never hold, or light, more than one sparkler at a time.

•Never throw sparklers.

•Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop spent sparklers in a bucket of water.

•Teach children not to wave sparklers, or run, while holding sparklers.


June is PTSD Awareness Month!

Posted by rpd03 on June 25, 2014 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)




June is PTSD Awareness Month!

In recognition of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, we have created a list of information and resources surrounding PTSD and made it available on our website.

After a traumatic or life-threatening event, it is common to have reactions such as upsetting memories of the event, increased jumpiness, or trouble sleeping. If these reactions do not go away or if they get worse, you may have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


Myths and Facts About PTSD

Myth: Everyone who experiences a life-threatening event will develop PTSD

Actually, most people who are exposed to qualifying events will not get PTSD at all, and many see a natural decrease in symptoms over the months following an incident. The number of people who receive a diagnosis after a PTSD-level event ranges from less than 10% of individuals after more than 12 months of exposure to general trauma to 37% of people exposed to intentional trauma (an attack as opposed to an accident or natural disaster).

Myth: After a certain amount of time, I should be over my trauma

Trauma, by its nature, hangs around. And sometimes a person can be going along just fine but something triggers the memories and they find themselves plagued by symptoms. Also, as people age activity that keeps long term memory shelved away from the rest of the brain begins to decrease, exposing the individual to more and more of their older memories. If some of these are trauma memories, they may find themselves overwhelmed by things that didn't bother them for decades.

Myth: My trauma was so long ago that it's too late to do anything about it

The good news is that it's never too late to address your trauma. In fact, most of my clients are middle-age survivors of childhood sexual abuse. There are a lot of reasons that someone would wait to get treatment, but the decades separating them from their trauma are not an obstacle at all. In fact, in some ways it is easier treating this group than individuals whose event was less than a year ago-much of their identity around the trauma has been settled, and to some degree so has the meaning of the event in their lives. Continue Reading...

If you or someone you know, believe they may be suffering from PTSD, please take our free online screening, or call us at 815.224.1610.

Thank you for signing up to receive our emails! If you would like more information about mental or emotional health and wellness issues, we encourage you to email us at: [email protected]



The NCBHS/Health Directions Team


Stories of PTSD

Featured below are the stories of individuals who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. View more videos here


Understanding PTSD: Gina's story

Understanding PTSD: Gina's story

It was like I just didn't care anymore

It was like I just didn't care anymore



Become a Part of Our Team!


Due to recent growth, NCBHS is recruiting Behavioral Health Therapists for their LaSalle, Ottawa and Canton clinical office locations. Candidates must be willing to work in a fast pace environment, be comfortable using technology & have a passion for helping people reach their maximum potential.


Visit our website for an opportunity to become part of our North Central's team!


Fill out your application here!



North Central Behavioral Health Systems is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation governed by a community Board of Directors. NCBHS has National Quality Approval through Joint Commission Accreditation.




"There is no health without mental health"

-Dr. David Satcher


Posted by rpd03 on June 21, 2014 at 5:50 AM Comments comments (0)