As summer approaches you may be wondering how to get your child's camp forms filled out or when their next vaccines are due. Or you may be unsure as to when you should next bring your healthy adolescent in to the office. Often adolescents miss their annual check ups if vaccine's aren't due or if they seem to be healthy. Other teens will come in for a mini physical to get camp/sport forms filled out instead of for a general well check. There are many benefits to an annual well check, even when all appears to be going well.
This month is National Mental Health Month. At annual well-child checks we not only discuss growth, nutrition, sleep, development and physical health, but we also evaluate how your teen is doing with school, relationships with peers, and family life. Teenage years often bring with them more responsibility and independence. Some teens thrive with these changes while others become overwhelmed. At well-child checks we provide a time for your adolescent to discuss with us how they feel they are coping with any stressors or changes, and screen for signs of mental health disorders.
Around 1 in 5 children meet the diagnostic criteria for a mental illness at any given time, yet 80% of these children don't get the diagnosis and care they need. Some signs of depression can seem like normal adolescent behavior, like changes in sleep patterns, irritability, decreased interest in previous hobbies and changes in appetite. Also, many teenagers feel anxious about difficult classes, new relationships, and making decisions about their future. The difference between a healthy amount of anxiety and an anxiety disorder can sometimes be difficult to differentiate. Well-child checks are an important time for your provider to screen your child for these disorders and also to give you and your teen some time to discuss concerns with an outside party.
We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with you to care for your children through all stages of life. We hope to see you in the office for a well-check soon!