Editor’s Note

headshot of woman in suit with blonde hair smiling


hen it comes to our kids’ health, we freely talk a lot about sports injuries or common illnesses like influenza, migraines, tummy flu and ear tubes. Our Facebook groups are filled with tips: ginger ale for a bad belly, alternating Tylenol and Motrin for stubborn fevers and “magic swizzle” for ghastly sore throats, as we trade names of favorite pediatric orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists.

But what I don’t see on many of those public boards is lot of chatter about children and mental illness. It is real and it is no different from any other physical illness. The fact is, many of our kids are not feeling well in ways we may not easily see.

Our young people are hurting and it’s imperative that we get help to them while they are young. The National Alliance on Mental Illness says half of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and two-thirds have begun by 24. Suicide is the second leading cause of death of children ages 10 to 14. That ranking puts it just behind deaths from accidental injuries, in events such as car accidents and drownings, but it is ahead of childhood cancer, despite the awareness and fundraisers we frequently see for that.

Rachel Windsor, our newest editor, reports on the startling facts in this month’s issue. The story is the second in an excellent three-part series on mental health in Mt. Lebanon. For Part One, she spoke with mental health professionals about the challenges they face. That story ran in our May issue, marking Mental Health Awareness month. In our next issue, she’ll walk us through mental health concerns in our senior community, where one in five people report at least some sort of problem.

In this issue’s story, Rachel spoke with Mt. Lebanon counselors and school officials to find out what they’re doing to calm the waters. She also gives us useful things to watch for at home, to quickly spot warning signs in our own children, along with ways to seek help.

Thanks to Rachel for pulling back the curtain on mental health. It is now up to us to look out for the ones we love, no matter their age, to let them know they are not alone and to support them as they seek help.