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18 Sep

The Disney Bedtime Hotline promises to lull children to sleep with the voices of their favorite characters, reports USA Today.

Children can choose to hear from Elsa and Anna, Mickey, Woody, Spider-Man, Yoda or Princess Jasmine as the characters share how they have been spent their day and bid children goodnight on the hotline. The best part? The characters tell children to think about going to sleep, too.

Get the full story at

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12 Sep

Dating someone with kids is commitment with a capital C. Have we learned nothing from The Parent Trap? Sure, Nick Parker was handsome and owned a fancy vineyard in Napa. But Meredith Blake was not the only girl in Nick Parker’s life. He also had two scheming twin daughters and an ex-wife that he was still in love with.

I’m not suggesting that your prospective partner is hiding a twin daughter or has feelings for their ex, but if you’re considering building a life with this person, you’re going to want to ask and answer a few questions first.

According to licensed marriage and family therapist Rebecca Hendrix, a conversation about compatibility is a must. “Life is hard enough,” Hendrix says. “So being with somebody who also has the baggage of children who aren’t yours — in addition to an ex relationship with some sort of conflict — you’re already going to have some potential challenges.” You want to mitigate those as much as possible, by making sure your needs and desires align, Hendrix says.

READ MORE: The Best Way To Deal With Jealousy In Your Relationship, According To Experts

WH advisor and licensed psychologist “Dr. Chloe” Carmichael completely agrees. She recommends sitting down with your guy (or woman) and literally going through a series of questions about each of your personalities, lifestyles, responsibilities and past relationships, all of which can be major factors in the success of your new relationship.

So before you start coordinating school drop-offs and band rehearsals — pump the brakes and have a conversation with your budding S.O. Here’s exactly what to ask before dating someone with kids — or at least getting serious with them:

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1. Do they have room for a primary partner?

Or is his plate already full? Most men with kids will see themselves as parents first — which is completely understandable, Dr. Chloe says. But what’s important is that you can ensure that your partner will be able to put you first, when necessary. “As a woman dating a man with kids, you don’t always have to assume you’re going to come second fiddle to the kids,” says Dr. Chloe. (Because real talk: You shouldn’t.)

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While the kids have to come first on many occasions — for example, if they have an accident at school — your partner shouldn’t use their obligation to their child(ren) as an excuse to put less effort into your relationship.

“It’s considered healthy to have boundaries around couple time and to be able to prioritise each other as primary partners,” Dr. Chloe says. If the person you’re dating can only make room for and prioritise their children, you might want to reconsider the relationship.

2. What are your responsibilities in this relationship?

This is an important one. What does your partner have in mind when it comes to your relationship with their children? Tension can arise when each of you has a different idea of what role you’ll play in the kids’ live.

Dr. Chloe says it’s important to make sure that your partner doesn’t expect you “to take responsibility for raising the kids, making rules, or holding boundaries” unless it’s something you’ve both decided on. On the flip side, you also don’t want to overstep and get more involve in their kiddos’ lives than they want you to be (especially early on), so chat it out.

3. What kind of boundaries will they set?

Your partner should really be taking charge on this one. “One of the pitfalls in dating a man with kids is when his children are disrespectful of you,” Dr. Chloe says. If the kids are younger, this may not be such an issue (at least not yet). But if they’re a little older — and especially if they’re girls — they may feel a bit threatened by the appearance of another woman.

READ MORE: 9 Signs You Might Be In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

They’re used to having dad all by themselves, Dr. Chloe says. (I mean, just look at Hallie Parker.) So it’s important that your man know how to set boundaries with his children, too. “You have to make sure that he is capable of setting a good and respectful tone, not just for you toward the kids, but the kids toward you,” she explains.

4. What type of divorce or break-up did they go through?

Too often, people skip this conversation, because talking about exes tends to be on the no-no list when it comes to dating someone new. But as Hendrix says, “these aren’t first-date questions.”

Please don’t ask your recent Tinder match about his last break-up. Asking about former partners should come after you’ve decided this person is someone you want to invest in (or at least, think you do). Because before you make that investment, you have to know what you’re getting into.

“If they had an amicable divorce, similar to conscious uncoupling, then it’s probably not going to affect your relationship all that much,” Hendrix says. You may even find yourself becoming friends with your partner’s ex some day, especially if they’ve been separated for a long time.

However, Hendrix warns that if your partner has had a high-conflict divorce, it’s possible that their ex is going to somehow interfere in your dating. “It could be that they change childcare plans at the last minute just to get back at your partner for moving on. It could be that they turn the kids against you, or make the children scared of the new person that their parent is dating,” Hendrix says. It’s important to know if there’s a bad actor in the mix. (If there is, my condolences.)

5. What are your worries and fears?

This question requires some soul-searching. You’re going to have to get vulnerable and open up about the irrational fears you have concerning this relationship. “You may have a fear that’s not valid at all but if you don’t discuss it, it can build up and turn into anxiety,” Hendrix says.

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The worst thing you could do is to create scenarios in your head that have zero validity. You could be worried that he’s going to bring the kids out on your movie dates, while he may have a personal rule that the kids can’t even meet you until six months of dating, Hendrix points out. Don’t invent problems that aren’t there. (This goes for everything in life, btw.)

6. What are their worries and fears?

Similarly, your partner could have some concerns of their own that they’re keeping to themselves in order to keep the relationship smooth sailing.

But that really doesn’t help anyone in the long run, so let them know that you prefer open communication style, where they won’t be chewed out for being upfront about their feelings. The more you can be honest with each other from the get-go, the better your chances of LTR success.

7. What are your — and their — expectations about how much time you’ll spend together?

“When somebody has children, most likely they’re either single parenting or sharing custody with someone else, which means that a lot of their free time could be spent travelling to have weekend visits or Wednesday night dinners,” Hendrix says. So you need to have a conversation about the kind of relationship you want when it comes to quality time spent together.

READ MORE: 10 Signs You Have A Controlling Boyfriend

If you’re someone who envisions spending every night cuddled up with your boo, chances are, that’s not going to happen when there are kids in the picture. You’ll likely have to work around visitation schedules and their one-on-one time with their little ones.

In other words, if you’re dating someone with kids, know that you won’t have a “normal” relationship. And you have to be honest, with yourself and partner, about whether that’s something you truly want.

8. How do you both communicate?

Communicating and staying connected is key in every relationship, but especially when you’re dating a young dad or mom. Why? Seeing them in person is not always an option.

“When you’re with someone with kids, you might have to settle for texting or a phone call.” And this is totally fine, as long as both of you are on the same page. “If you’re somebody who can connect quite nicely over text — say, by sharing your day or something that you saw that reminds you of them — but they are not a texter or phone person, then it can be quite hard to stay connected,” Hendrix says.

Since communication is so, SO important in a relationship, this is something to ask about and tackle early on, if you want things to work for the long haul.

9. Are you both being realistic?

If you’re picturing yourself pushing a happy child on a swing on a lovely spring day, snap out of it. Too often, Hendrix interacts with couples who set unrealistic expectations about their relationship.

“It can be really easy to fantasise, especially if you like kids. You can start to project your fantasies of playing with the kids, getting ice cream and going to the park,” Hendrix says. “When in reality, that could happen and could be something to look forward to.” Could means it’s a gamble, not a guarantee.

Oftentimes being involved in a relationship with someone who has kids means making sacrifices. A lot of what it looks like is asking yourself if you’re kind of okay to not always be a priority in this person’s life, Hendrix says.

10. How often will you interact with their kids?

There’s no need to get yourself all worked up about the future of your relationship if you’re dating a man with a 20-something-year-old son. “You have to consider how far along these kids are in the ‘kid process’,” Hendrix says.

“If they’re 17 and going to college, kids might not matter. But if the kids are 5, 9 and/or 12, that’s a whole different story. It’s about knowing what you want and being able to say no to what you don’t want, to make room for what you do want.”

Stick that piece of advice on your Pinterest board.

11. Do you like to be spontaneous?

If “I’ll play it by ear” and “let’s wing it” are common phrases of yours, you might want to reconsider committing to a person with kids. Because if your partner has children, they won’t always be able to drop what they’re doing to do something with you.

“You have to ask yourself if you’re alright that this partner might not be able to be spontaneous,” Hendrix says. “You may get offers to go away for the weekend and sometimes they might not be able to go with you because of prior commitments with their children.”

12. Are you okay with your partner’s income being somewhat limited?

This goes hand-in-hand with being spontaneous. Not only might your partner be unable to be impulsive with their plans, but also their finances.

“You want to be honest with yourself about whether you’re okay with someone not having as much disposable income,” Hendrix says. Your partner could have expenses you’ve never even considered. “They could be paying a good chunk of their salary in child support to an ex, leaving them with little to no spending money, even if they are making a really good salary.”

So if you’re the type of partner that wants to be wined and dined like a Kardashian, ask yourself if you’re willing to give up some of those dinners for mac-and-cheese night with the kiddos.

13. How do you handle jealousy?

Scene: It’s Tuesday night and your man texts you that he will be late to dinner because he and his ex promised to take their daughter out for ice cream together. Just the three of them. How do you feel? A) Fine, I trust him. I get it. B) A sudden urge to flip a table and turn into one of the Real Housewives has come over you. If your answer is B, then you might want to rethink dating someone with kids.

“Likely, this person will have to maintain connections with their ex,” Hendrix says. So the time they’re not spending with you might often be “spent with somebody who was very important in their life at one point in time, who they obviously they loved in some way because they created children with this person.”

READ MORE: This Warming Vibrator Almost Feels Like A Real Penis

Jealousy can easily creep in. While that doesn’t mean you’re “crazy” (a little jealousy is normal and can even be healthy), it’s important to know if you’re “the jealous type.”

If you are, you’ll need to figure out whether you can really process those feelings and work through them on your own, because chances are — especially if you’re with a good guy or girl — that insecurity is really just about you, Hendrix says.

14. Do you even like kids?

Meredith Blake definitely skipped this question. Why? Likely because it’s the one that requires the most honesty (hence why I left it for the end).

Honestly, you may think your partner is near-perfect, but if you can’t see yourself going to a soccer match or being around as that toddler grows into a real person, dating a man with kids might not be for you.

“Those kids are going to be there for the foreseeable future,” Hendrix says. “You want to make sure that you like kids and that you can imagine spending time with them.”

If at the end of your conversation, you realise that you don’t want someone else’s kids in your future, that’s totally fine — consider it helpful, no crucial, intel. Because you definitely don’t want two Lindsay Lohans scheming to pull you two apart. Trust.

This article was originally published on

Women’s Health participates in various affiliate marketing programmes, which means we may get commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.

READ MORE ON: Dating Tips Relationship Tips Relationships

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07 Sep

In barbell training, a coach meets people of all different walks of life. The spectrum is broad – young and old, genetically gifted and physically challenged. It’s been my experience that children age 8–15 are some of the most challenging people to coach.

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06 Sep

Constellation Brands product line.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Beer and wine producer Constellation Brands is seeing an uptick in the millennial generation’s consumption of alcohol and, according to a company executive, that’s in part thanks to one specific reason.

“When you said the millennials are drinking more, I’m like: That’s because they have kids,” Barclays analyst Lauren Lieberman said.

Lieberman made the comment somewhat jokingly during a discussion with Constellation Brands CFO David Klein, who was speaking with Lieberman at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference on Wednesday.

“Well, I think that’s exactly the answer,” Klein responded.

He cited Constellation’s research on millennials to back up his broader thesis: The company found that in 2013, millennials consumed about 24 alcoholic drinks per month. By this year, that number has climbed to about 29 per month – with about 77% of all millennials in the U.S. consuming alcohol, according to Klein.

“What we don’t know though is will we see that same thing with Gen Z as they age, will they — will life get more stressful for them and they drink a little more? But it’s too early to tell, but we definitely have seen that with millennials,” Klein said.

Klein added that Generation Z, ages 21 to 24, are consuming alcohol “slightly more slowly” than millennials did.

“I think what we have is people saying that they’re drinking less or drinking better, but that’s really driving people into trends like Corona Premier and seltzer and Mic Ultra, and brands like that,” Klein saId.

Twitter user @bluff_capital first noted the exchange on Thursday.

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10 Aug

Following widespread social campaigns, awareness about mental health in Indonesia has improved. While the stigma is not yet eradicated, we are getting more comfortable talking about mental health issues in private and in public. More people are ready to admit they need help from their peer groups or professionals. Hopefully, these improvements will pave the way for those living with mental disorders to achieve recovery.
Nevertheless, children and adolescents are missing from the conversation. Mental health issues are mostly perceived as an exclusively adult issue here. Childhood is often painted as a blissful, stress-free period; adolescence, even with all its turmoil, is seen as a time to be carefree and to have fun. Adults, therefore, tend to think that children and teenagers don’t need any business getting psychological or psychiatric help. As Indonesia marked National Childr…

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.

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02 Aug

The West Valley — like the rest of the country — is seeing skyrocketing mental health diagnoses among children and adolescents in emergency departments.

The problem is exacerbated by a shortage of professionals to deal with them — adding to the anxiety of parents who try to help their children.

ER visits “for kids who come in for complaints of suicide and behavioral problems in the past 10 years continue to increase,” said Dr. Randall Ricardi, chief of psychiatry at Phoenix Children’s.

“Partly, (population) growth is a driver and also I think better recognition of disorders in kids and adolescents and as a result more people come forward for care,” he added.

The need can be seen in the number of pediatric patients who attempted suicide — and the rising number who complete it.

In 2008, two pediatric patients were brought to Phoenix Children’s emergency department for attempted suicide. In 2016, that number reached 497, according to hospital data.

And in 2008, Phoenix Children’s registered 64 pediatric patients in its emergency department with suicidal thoughts. By 2016, that number jumped to 553 patients.

Overall, an estimated 17.1 million U.S. children are affected by a psychiatric disorder, making mental health ailments among the most common pediatric illnesses, according to a 2018 study by Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. 

Roughly 2% to 5% of all emergency department visits in the nation by children are related to mental health concerns.

That underscores the importance of improving access to outpatient mental health resources and expanding capacity in emergency departments, according to the study.

Some steps being taken now

Phoenix Children’s has already taken steps to address the crisis. At its main campus in Phoenix, a Bridge Clinic opened almost 1.5 years ago.

“The idea behind the Bridge Clinic is to take the kids seen in ED and don’t require in-patient care but can’t wait the weeks or months to get a psychiatry appointment and we bring them to Bridge for 60 days,” Ricardi said.

 “While they are waiting for a psychiatry appointment for longer care, we stabilize them by seeing them more frequently and starting either medication or therapy,” he added, noting the program would “transition them long term to a psychiatrist or a therapist.”

Approximately 420 patients came for help at the Bridge Clinic last year, according to Ricardi.

The program is being expanded to other areas, like the multi-specialty building on the Dignity Health Mercy Gilbert Medical Center’s campus.

Until that building opens and to meet an ongoing shortage of mental health providers, Ricardi is spearheading a program that he hopes to launch in early fall to train pediatricians on how to handle routine behavioral issues with their patients.

 “We’re going to invite interested pediatrician practices to participate in a year-long faculty learning community, where we teach about identifying, treating and managing attention deficit disorder, depression and anxiety,” Ricardi said.

“The pediatrician can be a valuable resource, and collaborating with a psychiatrist, in managing the increase number of kids with behavioral health needs,” he explained, noting:

“Some of them are managing patients in their practice. This is a more formalized way to help train them further.”

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry last year released a report showing a severe national shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists. 

Shortage still dire

While nearly 1 in 5 U.S. children have a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder in a given year, only about 20% of children with disorders see a specialized mental health care provider, it said. 

The county has approximately 8,000 practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists with a median of 11 per 100,000 children, the academy reported.  

Pediatrician Darcey Winterland knows firsthand the value of such a training program.

“I’m seeing more and more mental health issues every year,” said Winterland, who’s been in private practice for 12 years.

“And I’m seeing kids at an earlier and earlier age. I think this is something we scratch our heads about,” she added.

Winterland was at loss for why the nationwide increase in youths experiencing mental health issues.

“There’s lot of discussion among pediatricians and the mental health community on the role of social media on kids and what impact that has — specifically like Instagram and Snapchat and what role they play related to anxiety and depression,” she said, noting: 

“It’s a prevalent issue for adolescent girls in particular — the constant need to know if someone liked what they did.” 

According to research published this year by the American Psychological Association, certain types of mental disorders have risen significantly among kids.

“Cultural trends in the last 10 years may have had a larger effect on mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes among younger generations compared with older generations,” the association said.

The lead researcher suspected the trend could be partially due to increased use of electronic communication and digital media.

 The researcher noted that older adults’ social lives are more stable and might have changed less than teens’ social lives have in the last 10 years.

Wait times stress families

Until there are enough mental health professionals to address the growing caseload, continual strain will be seen in emergency departments and pediatrician offices, experts fear.

The average wait time for families to see a psychiatrist is three to four months.

The waiting lists for a mental health therapist and psychologist are no better and can stretch up to three months, forcing parents to bring their kids to pediatricians, according to Winterland. 

Also, for some families, she said, it’s a cheaper option to bring their children to a pediatrician than a specialist.

A majority of the nearly 20 physicians, including Winterland, at Mesa Pediatrics’ four offices handle mental health concerns to some degree with their young patients, according to the doctor.

“I take care of a variety of ADHD, anxiety and depression (cases),” Winterland said. “I feel comfortable handling straightforward cases of anxiety and depression.”

But in more severe cases, including bipolar or multiple mental disorders, a psychiatrist is needed to determine appropriate medication, she said.

Winterland said that during her residency she was not trained to deal with behavioral and mental health issues in patients.

As recently as 2013, 65% of pediatricians surveyed by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicated they lacked training in recognizing and treating mental health problems. 

Winterland said doctors are responding to the crisis by taking continuing medical education.

Training pediatricians to do the work of mental health professionals, however, may not be an effective long-term solution.

It takes longer for pediatricians to deal with a case involving mental health than treating a kid with an ear infection or strep throat, Winterland said.

“The amount of time spent, 45 minutes to an hour, to discuss all the issues, I can’t do that in the middle of the morning or middle of the afternoon or I’ll get behind,” she said. “There’s a certain amount of spots allowed for these in our practice.”

Cost of treatment a factor

And, because the practice is booked weeks in advance, families needing immediate help for their children turn to the emergency room instead.  

“Most kids don’t get presented to us until the parents view it as an emergency situation and they can’t get them in because of the wait time,” Winterland said. “Lot of these kids end up in the ER.”

She said her husband, Dr. Blake Bulloch, division chief of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Phoenix Children’s, sees on average six kids a day waiting to be admitted to a mental health facility because they’ve been deemed unsafe to go home.

Winterland also sees the cost of mental health care as a stumbling block for families. 

Cost, insurance coverage and the time and effort involved make it hard for parents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Lot of families can’t afford to pay the $150 to $300 for the initial visit and the $100 to $150 for subsequent visits for therapy,” Winterland said, adding:

 “It’s a pretty pricey endeavor for these families, especially those without insurance, and even if they have insurance it provides only for three visits. 

“We just don’t have enough providers to provide care and lots of providers don’t accept insurance. In my experience (families) try to sacrifice in other places to pay for it or go without therapy if it’s hard to see a psychiatrist or psychologist,” she said, adding:  

“Unfortunately, there’s not enough emphasis placed on mental health.” 

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29 Jul

Can you believe it’s almost the beginning of the new academic year? It seems like just yesterday the final bell dismissed your young ones to enjoy their long, hot summer. However, it’s almost time to get back into the swing of things and send them back to school. That also means it’s time for your lunch-packing duties to resurface. Beyond the usual wholesome main course, why not switch things up and pack a few healthy and delicious snacks this year?

And we’re not talking about the usual piece of fruit or bag of veggies. Try a few of our healthful and exciting snack recipes instead!

1. Banana-Carob-Oatmeal Snack
For a sweet and simple treat, try this recipe.


  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup raw organic oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon carob powder


Place all ingredients in a food processor, blending until fully combined. If the mixture seems too dry, add distilled water, little by little, until you reach the perfect consistency.

2. Raw Fruit Pudding
Pudding is a childhood classic! Try this delicious vegan recipe.


  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup peaches
  • 2-3 bananas
  • 1 cup rice milk
  • 2-4 tablespoons ground organic flax meal


First, grind the flaxseed into meal. Set aside.

Place the strawberries, peaches and bananas in a food processor and blend well – the consistency should be smooth and creamy.

Add rice milk and flax meal to the fruit combination and blend until you reach the perfect pudding consistency.

Use fresh strawberries to create this delicious pudding snack.Use fresh strawberries to create this delicious pudding snack.Use fresh strawberries to create a delicious pudding snack.

3. Pumpkin Cookies
Kids love when you sneak a treat into their lunches – they’ll have no idea how healthy this recipe is!


  • 2 cups organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup organic rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup organic ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon non-aluminum baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 1 cup melted organic butter
  • 1 cup amber agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • Optional: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


First, heat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place all of your dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together until combined.

Place wet ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Slowly combine the dry and wet ingredients until mixture forms into a cookie-dough-like consistency.

Using a tablespoon, drop dough balls onto the prepared sheet, leaving about 1-inch space between each cookie.

Move pan to the oven and bake for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about two minutes on the pan, then move to a wire cookie rack to cool completely.

4. Flatbread Crackers
Crackers make a great afternoon snack, and your kids will love this garlic-and-herb-inspired recipe.


  • 2 cups organic wholemeal spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • A sprinkling of salt to taste
  • Garlic and additional herbs of your choice
  • Extra flour and water to improve consistency


First, mix the wholemeal spelt flour with 3/4 cups of water and a sprinkling of salt. Knead until the dough is workable, then roll it out to a thin sheet. Use extra flour and water to improve consistency for rolling if necessary.

Place cracker dough under a broiler and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the top starts to turn golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool and then cut to desired cracker shapes. Seal in a plastic bag or container.

5. Apple Cinnamon Kale Chips
A sweet and salty treat? Your children will love this chip alternative.


  • 1 cup dried apples – soaked and drained
  • 1 cup cashews – soaked and drained
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 bunch kale – washed, trimmed and stemmed


Combine all ingredients, besides kale, in a blender, mixing until smooth. Add sea salt periodically to taste.

Coat kale in apple mixture, then place in a dehydrator for 8 to 10 hours. Enjoy!

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28 Jul

With rates of depression rising among youth of all ages and some children as young as age 9 attempting suicide, experts are recommending that parents, doctors, and teachers talk to kids about mental health from an early age.

But many adults are unsure of how to approach those conversations and also worry that the topic is too serious for kids.

Those fears are natural, says Tami Benton, psychiatrist-in-chief at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. But there are many ways to have a productive and non-intimidating conversation about mental health with kids.

Here are six tips to get you started:

— Talk about mental health right alongside physical health. This doesn’t need to be a separate conversation. When you talk to kids about getting a flu shot to protect their physical health, use the chance to talk to them about protecting their mental health, too. Research has shown both affect each other.

— Don’t focus on the negative outcomes. “If we talk to kids only about the bad things that can happen to them, that’d be alarming,” Benton said. While it’s important to convey the seriousness of these issues, you want to steer away from listing different mental illnesses and their symptoms.

— Simplify the language. Rather than focusing on specific mental health terms, explain what the condition looks and feels like. Benton suggests describing depression along these lines: “It’s normal for people to feel sad sometimes. Most of the time when people feel sad, it goes away. But for some people, they might feel sad for a long time and feel like not wanting to be alive.”

— Focus on prevention and how kids can help themselves. The way to keep the conversation from becoming scary or overwhelming is to empower children with concrete skills they can use. Talk about how sleeping regularly, eating healthy, and staying active can help maintain good mental health. Talk about healthy ways of dealing with emotion, like going for a run, listening to music, or talking to a family member. Brainstorm with them a list of adults they feel safe turning to if they’re ever struggling.

— Discuss how they can help others. Research shows that youth who are struggling with mental health concerns often tell friends before anyone else. That’s why experts say it’s crucial to teach kids to recognize warning signs — like changes in mood or sleeping and eating habits — in others. Encourage them to talk to an adult if they’re worried about their friends.

— Let them know help is available. Children should understand that treatment for mental illnesses is effective, and they will not be judged for seeking help. They should have multiple adults they can turn to, who can connect them with professional resources. “No matter what, they need to know there is always help available,” Benton said.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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16 Jul

A national study finds children without insurance who seek treatment for a mental health disorder in the emergency department (ED) are more likely than those with private insurance to be transferred to another hospital.

The study, conducted by researchers at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and the UC Davis Department of Psychiatry, showed differences in the decisions to admit or transfer children with mental health emergencies based on the patients’ insurance type.

More hospital transfers for children with no insurance

For the study, the researchers assessed a national sample of 9,081 acute mental health events among children in EDs. They looked at the patient’s insurance coverage and a hospital’s decision to admit or transfer patients with a mental health disorder.

“We found that children without insurance are 3.3 times more likely to be transferred than those with private insurance,” said Jamie Kissee Mouzoon, research manager for the Pediatric Telemedicine Program at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and first author on the study. “The rate was even higher for patients presenting with bipolar disorder, attention-deficit and conduct disorders and schizophrenia.”

Inequities in mental health emergencies

The study shows there may be gaps in providing equitable and quality care to pediatric patients with mental health emergencies based on their insurance coverage.

Transferring a child creates additional burdens for the patient, family and health care system as a whole. It can add to overcrowding in busy emergency departments, higher costs of care and higher out-of-pocket costs for the family.

According to James Marcin, senior author on the study, there are regulations in place to prevent EDs from making treatment decisions based on the patients’ insurance. Transferring a patient for any other reason than clinical necessity should be avoided

“Unfortunately, the financial incentives are sometimes hard to ignore and can be even unconscious,” Marcin said. “What we have found in this study is consistent with other research that demonstrates that patients without health insurance are more likely to get transferred from clinic to clinic or hospital to hospital.”

Marcin also is director for the UC Davis Center for Health and Technology and leads the telemedicine program at UC Davis Health. He is looking into ways that telemedicine – video visits delivered to the children who seek care in remote EDs – might be a solution to the tendency to transfer the patient to another hospital.


The study published online July 1 in Pediatric Emergency Care.

Other UC Davis Health collaborators include Yunru Huang, Parul Dayal, Peter Yellowlees and Ilana Sigal.

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