Health experts say more children are in need of mental health services

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Posted at 5:50 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 22:32:53-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — From pandemic to protest and now the opening of schools, mental health experts say it can be a lot for children to process.

Rikki Harris, CEO of Tennessee Voices for Children says this year has been busy but it’s also been tough on families with children with mental health needs.

"This is going to be tough, it’s going to require that we help kids process this and we figure out what they need to do the best they can to get through it," said Harris.

Even though many kids aren’t experiencing the same struggles as some adults during this pandemic, Harris says it doesn’t mean it’s not affecting them.

"From April to June, we nearly doubled the amount of time we spent with the families that we serve because their needs are growing," Harris said.

Harris says data is telling us, especially children in Tennessee are receiving the majority of their mental health services in schools or through school resources.

"This is a big deal if they’re not receiving those services and they needed them already; I’m telling you they need them more now."

Harris says as adults we need to act fast, ask questions and be involved in their children’s lives.

But Harris says parents can’t be a helpful tool until they are mentally healthy.

"Parents always put their kids first and try to help them process and haven’t stopped to go through their own process of all of this," said Harris,"It’s sort of put the mask on yourself first. If you can take care of you and be in a good place then you can walk through that with your child."

Most importantly, she says don’t be afraid to seek professional help. For more information on services offered by Tennessee Voices for Children click here.