Youth Mental Health is as Concerning as it's Ever Been
There are countless articles about the subject of kids' mental wellness these days, and the struggle that they are having. Most, if not all, camps have seen these struggles firsthand.
“There’s a national crisis in adolescent mental health,” says Psychiatrist Lou Baptista-Nedo of Columbia University. “Hospitals are full of adolescents with suicidal ideation. It’s fair to say that the problem was growing before the pandemic, but no doubt it has been exacerbated.” -The Kids are Not All Right, 2022
We all know that camp can do wonders for kids' mental health. But it can't immediately "cure" depression, anxiety, and isolation that kids come in with. So, what are we to do?
What Should Camp Directors be Thinking About?
For starters - don't wait until camp begins. It is so important to get to know - or get to know better - your campers during the off-season. What types of questions are you asking? Is your application a process, or merely a form that a parent or guardian submits without any director approval needed? How are you checking up on how your returning campers are doing? How do you assess if your camp is the right fit for a camper, or if they might need a camp that can provide more support or help to them? If necessary, do you provide the time and infrastructure for some campers to continue therapy electronically while at camp? If not, are you thinking about this possibility for the future?
If you don't know your campers' emotional and psychological needs, then you are missing a big piece of who they are. Just like every camp must get information on physical health needs, understanding emotional needs in detail is more important than ever.
We all want our campers to be successful. How are you doing the best you can to ensure that?