Time for Kids: Time to Talk- Dean - WI

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Published on February 20, 2017

Time for Kids: Time to Talk

The average American speaks about 16,000 words each day, according to a University of Arizona study. It is clear that communication is front and center in all of our lives. Yet the simple act of sharing feelings or concerns is something some people struggle with, especially when it comes to sensitive topics like mental health. That’s why SSM Health and WISC-TV3 are focusing our new year-long “Time For Kids” campaign on cultivating family and community conversations about mental illnesses.

Why we should be talking

Mental health problems affect everyone. From children and teens to adults and the elderly, no age group is immune. Not only are issues widespread, they’re common, even at an early age. About 20-percent of teenagers have or will have a serious mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That’s why it’s important to start a conversation right away if there are signs of trouble.

“For years, mental health has been sort of a ‘taboo’ topic,” says SSM Health psychiatrist Dr. Bhawani Ballamudi. “But if kids understand that it’s something they can open up about, they’re much more likely to get the help they deserve.”

The consequences of not talking

When mental health issues go unchecked, they can spiral into even more complex problems. Throughout this year, our “Time For Kids” initiative will highlight some of those issues.  They include:

Who to talk to

While finding a way to connect with your children is important, they aren’t the only ones parents should be having conversations with.

“Talking with your doctor, or seeking help from a mental health specialist are proactive things parents can do to help struggling children,” says Dr. Ballamudi. “And don’t forget to work with your child’s school, or be in touch with other families who may be dealing with a similar situation.”

Throughout 2017 in our Time for Kids: Time to Talk campaign we will provide ideas and resources for parents and the community on our “Time for Kids” web page. You can also watch WISC-TV3 for educational stories and information about events and activities that promote lifting the curtain on mental health conversations.

“It starts as an individual choice, but once communication opens up, together as a society, we can make a difference,” concludes Dr. Ballamudi. 

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