American children’s mental health a national emergency, shadow work could help

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Children in the United States are experiencing a mental health crisis according to a group of leading pediatric experts.

The problem is so serious that it is considered a national emergency by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

An emerging psychological strategy offers young people a way to work on their mental conflicts. Working with shadows is a way to analyze the repressed parts of the self and create understanding. Through the use of tips for shade work, patients can learn to accept and overcome their mental blocks and to improve their overall mental health.

Children suffering from mental health emergency

In the letter written by various organizations and associations, the groups claim that mental health cases have steadily increased over the past 10 years. But the pandemic, coupled with mounting racial tensions and inequalities, has exacerbated the problem.

Specifically, a study comparing white children to Native American children showed that the latter were 4.5 times more likely to have lost a primary caregiver. Likewise, black children were 2.4 times more likely and Hispanic children were 2 times more likely to have suffered the same loss.

“We care for young people with skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness and suicidality that will have a lasting impact on them, their families, their communities and our entire future,” said Dr. Gabriell Carlson, president of the AACAP (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry).

Leaders take action

Recently, President Biden announced plans to invest $ 85 million in mental health awareness, training, and treatment for teens. But the declaration calls for more action at both the federal and local levels to improve mental health conditions. This includes screening, diagnosing and treating various conditions affecting young people.

The Department of Education is also aware of the crisis and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says schools need to act immediately. Before the pandemic, 13-22% of school-aged children had mental health problems. According to Cardona, research indicates that the number has now increased by 80%.

“You know, people are an area of ​​concern that, across the country, we need to make sure we put our best ideas on paper and share best practices,” he said in an interview with NPR. “So we learn from each other and do what we have to do for our students.”

What are the shadows?

One way psychologists claim that children can improve their mental health is by coping with their repressed emotions. These emotions constitute what Carl Jung called the “shadow self” – the self that is hidden and seen as unacceptable by others. By working on repressed trauma through the use of shadow cues, patients can bring out the hidden parts of themselves and begin to understand them.

People often learn from childhood what is and is not acceptable or nice in different situations. Also, adapting to different social groups means adapting personalities to fit each group and hiding what doesn’t. When genuine feelings and emotions are hidden, they do not simply disappear, however, according to Jung, they can re-emerge. such as episodes of anger or anxiety.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it destiny,” said Jung. By this he meant that until these shadow selves are brought to the fore and addressed, they will emerge as uncontrolled acts.

Healing with the shadows

Shadow work involves paying attention to feelings that emerge and seem to take over, as well as recognizing unfavorable patterns. Working with a therapist early on can help patients identify these feelings that can be easily overlooked or ignored.

“Shadow work is about the unconscious mind, which consists of things we repress and hide from ourselves, such as trauma,” according to Danielle Massi, marriage and family therapist. She is trained to help her patients overcome the trauma that can result from experiencing violence, abuse or surviving an accident. Massi often practices shadow work with his patients to achieve a deeper level of healing.

“As a psychotherapist for a decade, I felt that my clients and I could only get to explore the conscious and subconscious mind,” she said. “I moved away from traditional psychotherapy and devoted myself to shadow work to help them heal on a much deeper level.”

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