Mental Health: Toxic Stress, Peer Victimization (Bullying), Anxiety, Depression
It seems counterintuitive that children would encounter stress, victimization, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions in their formative years when ideally they would be surrounded by a stable and collaborative network of nurturing family, teachers, and community members. Any experienced pediatric clinician understands the gritty reality behind this image for all too many children. In fact, the prevalence of abuse, victimization, and mental health disease in children is sobering, and has been shown in an accruing body of research to take a severe mental and physical toll on the child’s developing mind and body. Clinicians who are tuned into this topic can serve as critical advocates for children and can learn to offer a range of options to assist them, and to help children learn to assist themselves, even in the absence of an ideal home or school scenario. This chapter covers toxic stress, bullying, anxiety, and depression, only a small sample of the wide range of mental health conditions that affect the pediatric population. Although the field is in its early stages, integrative therapies are under active study to offer expanded treatment approaches to children and their families struggling with mental health and wellbeing (Edwards et al. 2013).