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Mālama Ola Minute is a series brought to you by the Kamehameha Schools Mālama Ola Division to increase awareness, promote discussion, and offer tools to improve the physical and mental health of our haumāna. In this edition of Mālama Ola Minute we work to debunk myths around mental health.

Mālama Ola Minute: Debunking myths around mental health

May 10, 2023

Misconceptions about mental health are common but understanding the facts can help us wade through any confusion and be ready to help our loved ones.

Myth: Mental health conditions are signs of weakness.
Fact: People who struggle with mental health are not weak or lack willpower. They do not choose to have mental health conditions, and it requires a lot of strength to accept help.

Myth: Children with good grades and many friends do not have mental health conditions.
Fact: Not all children with mental health conditions have a difficult time functioning in everyday life. Some may feel pressure to succeed or deal with other concerns that can lead to struggles such as depression and anxiety.

Myth: We can’t protect children from developing mental health conditions.
Fact: A loving, supportive environment in school and at home protects our children from facing increased adversity. Children are more likely to seek support from their friends and family when they feel safe and unjudged.

Myth: Mental health only needs to be addressed if you have a mental health condition.
Fact: Everyone benefits from taking proactive steps to care for their mental health. With the right tools, early mental health care can help children overcome challenges later in life.

Getting connected with mental health care
Mental health struggles are on a spectrum. If your child is struggling with their mental health, here are some ways to find the support they need:

  • Talk to your pediatrician or school counselor. They can refer you to a trained mental health professional or behavioral health specialist who can provide further follow-up.
  • Search your insurance provider’s database for mental health providers or programs offering helpful services.
  • Familiarize yourself with community and school resources like the Pono Youth Program Hi‘ikua Student Helpline and Mālama Ola Behavioral Health

Ensure the support fits your child’s needs by asking questions about the provider’s training, licenses, certifications, and recommended treatments. The most important thing we can do is provide a safe environment where your child can feel comfortable coming to you with concerns and asking you for help when needed.

 Learn more

A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Mental Health
Chapman University

Mental Health America of Hawaiʻi
Mental Health America of Hawaiʻi

Protecting Youth Mental Health
The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory

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