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Unlocking the Mysteries of Children’s Mental Health

Unlocking the Mysteries of Children’s Mental Health. An Introduction for Future Teachers. Prepared by the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health. for the Minnesota Department of Education. Childhood Mental Illness.

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Unlocking the Mysteries of Children’s Mental Health

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  1. Unlocking the Mysteries of Children’s Mental Health An Introduction for Future Teachers

  2. Prepared by the MinnesotaAssociation for Children’s Mental Health for the Minnesota Department of Education

  3. Childhood Mental Illness • All children go through rough times at school, with friends, or in their families • Most common problems, such as sadness after a family move, clear up with time and maturity • Consider three things if you suspect a student may be experiencing an emotional problem: • Frequency: how often does the student exhibit the symptoms? • Duration: how long do they last? • Intensity: how severe are the symptoms?

  4. Childhood Mental Illness Behaviors or moods that: • Are no longer age-appropriate • Are much more dramatic than in peers • Continue for longer than usual should alert adults to investigate the possibility of a mental health (emotional or behavioral) disorder

  5. On Any Given Day… • Three million American children meet the clinical criteria for mood disorders • 21% of children and adolescents have a behavioral, emotional, or mental health problem • One out of every 20 Minnesota children is identified with Severe Emotional Disturbance • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15-34 in Minnesota. The overall suicide rate is double the homicide rate in the state

  6. Mental Illness Can Be Treated • Children spend over half their waking hours in school - this makes teachers front line assistants in recognizing and assisting treatment • Best practice includes therapy, possibly medication, and consistent behavioral support across settings (home, school, community) • Every child with emotional or behavioral challenges has a possibility to succeed in life

  7. Mental Health Disorders May Be Difficult to Recognize • Mental health disorders emerge during ongoing development and at times may look like misbehavior but are NOT the same • Disorders in infancy, childhood, and adolescence may not have the same symptoms as in adulthood

  8. Early Intervention Can… • Minimize effects on child and family • Lessen duration & severity of symptoms • Lessen disruption of normal development • Increase academic success • Increase social success • Reduce risk of legal system involvement • Reduce risk of family disruption and abuse • YOU are a key factor in early intervention

  9. Lecture 1 The Normal Brain and the Disordered Brain

  10. The structure and function of the normal brain Mental health disorders as brain disorders The brain and learning Focus:

  11. “I think educators ought to be interested in the brain because they teach brains! If you’re a classroom teacher, you’ve got about 30 of them in your room and I can’t imagine somebody who would teach a room full of brains who wouldn’t be interested in brains…If you’re involved in the development and maintenance of a brain, you need a kind of knowledge that is more than folklore knowledge.” Robert Sylwester

  12. Major Brain Structures • The brain is divided into several portions or “lobes,” each with a specific function

  13. Major Brain Structures Frontal Lobe • Judgment • Planning • Creativity • Organization Many Mental Health disorders involve problems in the frontal lobe

  14. Major Brain Structures Parietal Lobe • Reception of sensory information • Sends messages to the limbs

  15. Major Brain Structures Temporal Lobe • Hearing • Memory • Meaning • Language

  16. Major Brain Structures Occipital Lobe • Vision

  17. Major Brain Structures Cerebellum • Balance • Long-term memory • Motor movement

  18. Cross Section of the Brain Outer Cortex • Sensory input • Motor movement

  19. Cross Section of the Brain Brain Stem • Unconscious functions • Breathing • Digestion • Heartbeat

  20. Cross Section of the Brain Corpus Callosum • Bridges right and left brain

  21. Cross Section of the Brain Hippocampus • Memory

  22. Cross Section of the Brain Cingulate Gyrus • Arousal

  23. Cross Section of the Brain Basal Ganglia • Involuntary movement

  24. Cross Section of the Brain Amygdala • Fear and arousal regulator

  25. Basic Brain Structures:Nerve Cells • Nerve cells - your brain has more connections than stars in the universe: 100 billion • Require a steady supply of glucose & oxygen -- depressed or actually destroyed by alcohol, drugs, nicotine, caffeine, some medications, sleep deprivation, stress, lack of use, lack of intimacy

  26. Synapses& Neurotransmitters • Electrical charges travel from cell body to tip of axon • Tip releases chemical neurotransmitters which bridge the synapse to the receptor sites on the dendrite of another neuron • This is the process of all learning!

  27. Functions Attention span Perseverance Planning Judgment Impulse control Organization Self-monitoring Problem solving Critical thinking Forward thinking Learning from experience & mistakes Ability to feel and express emotions Influences limbic system Empathy Internal supervision Prefrontal Cortex:Attention, Judgment, Emotions

  28. Problems Distractibility Lack of perseverance Lack of impulse control Hyperactivity Chronic lateness Poor organization Procrastination Unavailability of emotions Poor judgment Trouble learning from experience Short term memory problems Social & test anxiety Lying, confabulation Misperceptions Prefrontal Cortex:Attention, Judgment, Emotions

  29. Functions Integrates feelings and movements Refines fine motor movements Suppresses unwanted movements Sets anxiety level Enhances motivation Pleasure Problems Anxiety, panic Negative thinking Conflict avoidance Muscle tension Tremors, tics Fine motor problems Headaches Low or excessive motivation Basal Ganglia: Movement, Emotions, Motivation

  30. Recent Brain Based Research • New developments in brain research allow for clear visualization of normal and disordered brains, at rest and at work • CAT scan • MRI scan • PET scan • SPECT scan

  31. Neurobiological Disorders • Because of this new understanding, many new terms have been developed and promoted as more accurate than mental illness: • Neurobiological disorders • Brain or Bio-brain disorders • Neurobehavioral disorders • Neuropsychiatric disorders

  32. The latest research shows that mental illnesses often derive from brain malformations or malfunctioning Disruption of brain development, causing emotional or behavioral symptoms can be caused by: Prenatal or early exposure to toxins Situational crises Chronic stress and anxiety Malnutrition Disease A combination of these factors What are We Talking About?

  33. Risk Factors Research shows both biological and psychosocialfactors influence the development of the brain, and brain disorders • Many brain disorders cluster in families, showing a genetic component or predisposition • Some symptoms relate to damage due to injury, infection, poor nutrition, or exposure to toxins • Stressful life events, malnutrition, childhood maltreatment, and aggression may lead to short or long-term symptoms and increase the likelihood of adverse outcomes

  34. The Brain at Work = Learning • What Helps • Safe environment • Meaningful tasks • Timely feedback • Varied input • What Hinders • Anxiety • Distraction, aversion • Brain disorders

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