Newsroom > DHHS News Release

May 3, 2010

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287

Support Your Child’s Emotional Health and Well-Being

May is Children’s Mental Health Month

Note: Sound bites on this topic are available at:
Lincoln – Parents and family members are usually the first to notice if a child or teen’s emotions or behaviors change enough that it could be an indication of possible mental health symptoms.
“You’re the expert when it comes to your child, and you know when their behavior reflects more than just being moody or having a bad day,” said Scot Adams, director of the Division of Behavioral Health in the Department of Health and Human Services. “Many children and youth have mental health problems that are real and can be severe, but when they are recognized, they can be successfully treated.”
It’s been estimated that one in five young people in this country suffer from a mental health disorder. With early detection and appropriate treatment, chances are excellent that most children with mental health challenges can recover and lead healthy lives, Adams said.
“People may be afraid to ask for help because they think they’ll be labeled as bad parents who can’t control their children, or that their children may be taken from them,” said Maya Chilese, Children’s Behavioral Health manager for the Division. “We believe that parents are a child’s best advocate and encourage people to ask, learn and seek assistance. We’re here to listen and help you find solutions, not to judge you or your family.”
Many helpful resources are available for parents and caregivers, such as the Nebraska Family Helpline at (888) 866-8660. It is available 24/7 to help families struggling to meet their children’s behavioral health challenges. Some families are referred on for further assistance from a Family Navigator, someone with personal experience with children or teens with a severe emotional disorder.
Pay attention if a child or teen you know is troubled by feeling:

  • Really sad and hopeless without a seemingly good reason, and the feelings don’t go away;
  • Very angry most of the time, cries a lot or overreacts to things;
  • Worthless or guilty a lot;
  • Extremely fearful, with unexplained fears or more fears than most kids;
  • Unable to get over a loss or death of someone important.

Information about a wide range of mental health services and resources can be found at