Children are Suffering in Silence and What Pediatricians Can Do About It
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I met Heather about a year ago.
A GoCheck teammate forwarded me an article she published on Doximity’s Opmed blog about photoscreening.
And after exchanging a handful of emails, she fell off the grid.
Two months ago, I found out why. She suffers from post-herpetic neuralgia, a severe burning pain that lasts long after the rash and blisters of shingles disappear.
Most people with this condition would quit working.
But not Heather.
At great personal cost, she has coped and continues to practice through the intense pain because she finds her work day so rewarding. As she puts it, “I can’t imagine not being a practicing pediatrician.”
Heather said something in this interview that hit my stomach like a 50 lb brick:
“Children are suffering in silence.”
The suffering refers to mental health issues. And the silence is lack of access to treatment.
15% of kids have a diagnosable mental health issue, and they need access to care, and it’s just not there.
But Heather is learning how to screen for AND treat depression, anxiety, and ADHD, and most recently, tells a story about learning how to prescribe birth control.
Heather is pushing boundaries by learning new ways to benefit the children and the community she serves, and her patients are flourishing as a result.
She’s suffering in silence so the children in her community don’t have to.
“It’s so rewarding to help a kid who’s suffering, a kid who’s sick, a kid who doesn’t feel well…It’s not something I want to give up.”
“Some of these kids have already attempted to kill themselves and they are just suffering in silence with nobody knowing, so how can I not step in and help in this epidemic?”
1:50 – How Heather is fulfilled through helping children
4:22 – Heather shares knowledge on her blog to move medicine forward
6:18 – Mental health screening as a crucial step in pediatrics
9:35 – A plethora of behavioral health issues to be cautious of
11:00 – Never stop striving to be your best self
Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity