MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With an estimated one in every five children suffering from a mental disorder, such as anxiety and depression, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics aims to help doctors better help kids.
Kennedy Campbell has been dealing with anxiety since she was in daycare at age 3.
“I didn’t talk to anyone. They just thought I was really shy,” the 18-year-old said.
Her anxiety would leave her unable to speak. Doctors finally diagnosed her with an anxiety disorder known as selective mutism.
“Talking is like overwhelming (light changes) and a lot of people with this disorder don’t speak outside of the home” said Campbell.
“It would have been helpful if the doctors had diagnosed her earlier,” said Theresa Wilson Coney, her mom.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ newest report is providing pediatricians with guidance on how to help children with mental health challenges.
“There is a huge shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists and increasing prevalence of these problems,” said Dr. Cori Green, a pediatrician at NY-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell. “We can help play a more effective role so that more children get recognized and into treatment.”
The report calls on pediatricians to recognize and address trauma and other threats to children’s mental health.
“The big disorders that are more prevalent and probably within the scope of a pediatrician are things like ADHD, anxiety, depression, substance use,” Dr. Green said.
Campbell founded Arts for Anxiety, which encourages people to use the arts to help with their symptoms.
“I feel very happy that I can inspire children and let them know they aren’t alone dealing with this anxiety because I felt alone,” she said.
She also receives counseling and therapy which she says has helped her overcome her anxiety and find her voice.