Diagnosing mental illness in children - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Diagnosing mental illness in children

Dr. Michael Gomez, Psychologist and Texas Tech Physician (Source: KCBD Video) Dr. Michael Gomez, Psychologist and Texas Tech Physician (Source: KCBD Video)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. But Thursday, May 5th, is all about kids; a special day to bring awareness to children and learn the signs that a child may be suffering.

The National Institutes of Health estimates the number of kids and teens today who could be diagnosed with a mental health disorder is 15 million. But, it says that only about 7 percent will receive the help they need.

Dr. Michael Gomez, a Psychologist and Texas Tech Physician says here are some simple clues that a child may need help. "They're kind of divided into 2 groups. We talk about these in terms of 'externalizing behaviors' which are what they sound like in terms of aggression, fighting, non-compliance and 'internalizing' which are things like sadness, panic, even suicidalities and self abuse."

Dr. Gomez says if your child fits into one of those categories, the first stop is the pediatricians office.

Many parents worry about treating a child with drugs.  But Dr. Gomez explains that the first step in treatment is often behavioral therapy, not medication.          

The theme this year is "Finding Help. Finding Hope."  The goal is for every community to improve awareness and access to behavioral health services and supports for children, youth, and young adults and their families.

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