New moms know what it's like going in and out of the doctor's office. Between regular routine visits, physicals, and immunizations, it can get a little tiring. But, when worrying about and being concerned for your child's health, parents might ignore the importance of their own health. That's why it's so awesome that this program offers mental health screenings for parents during their kid's routine checkups, so they too can make their own health a priority.
A new program, HealthySteps, is aiming to bring awareness to this and change the health care model altogether, according to Babble, by offering parental health and well-being screenings right in their child's doctors office. By doing this, as Babble reported, both parents and children can receive health screenings, counseling, and on-site treatment.
The HealthySteps model is simple. According to its websites, participants in a HealthySteps program coordinate family screening efforts and problem solves with the parents to better the future of their children. The program offers team-based visits, child development screenings, parenting guidance and information, as well as resources for parents. After a parental screening, it's then determined whether or not they need more assistance, according to Babble.
Not only do these checkups better the health of the parents and children by pinpointing issues at the doctor's office, it helps in the long term, providing kids the support they need so to foster a better future. Needless to say, this program is pretty amazing for the whole family.
Dr. Rachel Briggs, director of pediatric behavioral services at Montefiore Medical Center and the associate of pediatric psychology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine told Babble that this is meant to make the transition to having caregivers get the help they need "as seamless as possible" tackling all aspects of family health care in one go. Briggs told Babble:
Sometimes it takes a year for a family to really face that a child might have autism or a mother might have depression. We honor that everyone gets a place of readiness at their own speed.
The reality is that many adults do have depression. In fact, 6.9 million adults in the United States, on average, will experience a depressive episode within the year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. But according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, only a small percentage of those people will actually seek out treatment for this.
Research shows that when depression in parents goes ignored, it affects their kids, too. According to The New York Times, parental depression can lead to negative consequences in their children, like poor school performance to poor relationships with their peers. A 2011 study, according to The Daily Beast, found that parental depression can have a lasting mark on their child's DNA, wiring this stress and unhappiness permanently into their child's brains.
This is why programs like HealthySteps are so important to a family's general health. By screening children and their parents, they're ensuring that the whole family is taken care of for the years to come. There are a lot of locations in the United States that provide HealthySteps services for parents and their children who are interested in receiving this treatment.
Evidence shows that HealthySteps works. According to HealthySteps, children who participate in the program have shown improved physical health and their parents are more likely to make positive decisions for their child and be happier with the level of care that they were receiving from their doctor.
During the first few years of parenting, visits to the doctors office with your child are abundant. There is no reason that parents shouldn't be receiving treatment at the same time.
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