Developing Health Literacy for Kids With Mental Health Concerns

family kids Oct 10, 2019

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Information is Empowering: Why Health Literacy Matters

Just like adults, children and teenagers benefit from being informed and empowered so that they can participate in important decisions regarding their health and wellness. The team here at Natural Mental Health is dedicated to enhancing “health literacy” for our readers, by providing up-to-date information that supports the development of self-care and self-regulation skills for all ages. 

Defining Health Literacy

Health literacy is set of skills people use to realize their potential in health situations. They apply these skills either to make sense of health information and services or provide health information and services to others. Anyone who needs health information and services also needs health literacy skills.

Developing Health Literacy in Teens and Kids

One way in which children and teenagers can enrich their health literacy is to read age-appropriate books that are both...

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CBD Oil for Mental Health for Kids and Teens

calm family focus kids Oct 03, 2019

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

What Kids, Teens and Parents Should Know About CBD Oil for Mental Health

By now you have probably heard of the potential health benefits of the natural plant-based remedy, CBD oil. It is derived from the cannabis plant, the same plant-type that provides marijuana. Cannabis plants have actually been utilized for millennia all over the world for their healing properties.

Understandably, there is some confusion about the differences between CBD oil and marijuana products. CBD oil that is hemp-based is legal in all 50 states. On the other hand, marijuana products vary by state in terms of their legality for medical versus recreational. CBD oil and marijuana both differ in their safety and efficacy for mental health symptoms in kids, teens, and adults.

I know, it's confusing. Let’s try to sort this all out...  

The Chemical Components of CBD, Marijuana, and Hemp

The term cannabis is used to identify a genus of flowering plants in...

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Transition from Summer to School [Like a Boss]

family kids Sep 12, 2019

 

By Anastasia Sullwold Ristau, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

Clinical Supervisor of all youth Intensive Outpatient Programs within PrairieCare Medical Group


 

This time of year is one transition after another. Changing from summer to school schedules requires big transitions with sleep, meals, and even how we organize our days or brains. Transitions are change, and more often than not, change is HARD.

And change is inevitable and unavoidable.

I’m challenging myself and all of you, dear readers, to face these times of change like a boss. That means a mental framework that allows us to keep our eyes on the bigger picture; to embrace all that comes with both the knowns and unknowns rampant in times of transition. Let's trust that internally we have more mastery and ownership over this parenting thing than we might believe in the moment. 

We’ve got this!

To help us move more smoothly from summer to school, we can use the 5 Square Prepare ...

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ADHD & Sleep: Using Melatonin to Reset Circadian Rhythm (Part 3)

 Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

[Read Part 1 of this series for more on melatonin and its relationship with ADHD.]

First: Is Melatonin Safe? 

I've found melatonin to be quite helpful for kids and teens with ADHD for both sleep onset and sleep maintenance issues. However, some concerns have popped up about kids and teens using melatonin for long periods of time (more than 6 months) or at high-doses. However, little has been substantiated through research studies. 

A recent systematic review of 13 RCTs assessed the safety and efficacy of melatonin for pediatric patients with ND disorders (e.g, ADHD and Autism). Studies included a total of 632 children who took either regular melatonin or controlled release melatonin. The review found that:

  • Kids who took the melatonin fell asleep faster and slept longer compared to those given a placebo pill (Abdelgadir).
  • No major side effect concerns were apparent in any of the studies.

Second: How Should You Use...

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ADHD & Sleep: The Whole Family Approach to Reset Circadian Rhythm (Part 2)

 Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Good [and bad] Sleep Is Contagious 

Creating a culture of healthy sleep in a household requires a “whole family” behavioral approach to sleep. That means you'll need everyone in your home to opt-in to healthy sleep hygiene practices.

  • Sleep hygiene refers to sleep practices (I call them routines and rituals) that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis.
  • Sleep routines and rituals are done at the same time and sequence each night as a way of winding down and giving your mind and body time and cues to move into a more calm and quiet mode to ease the transition into sleep.

No matter if your family consists of just you, twelve cats, or lots of humans, you'll want to consider all the beings and environmental influences that can be optimized for sleep. Short-term assists like melatonin can be helpful, but it's really the establishment of healthy sleep practices that bring the lasting benefits. 

Some of the...

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Modeling Screen Time for Kids (Even Babies!)

kids Oct 30, 2018

By Marti Erickson, PhD

Did your parents used to tell you, “Do as I say, not as I do”?

That wasn’t a very effective strategy then, and it still isn’t. Like it or not, kids are far more likely to do as we do.

So, if you bemoan how kids seem to have a phone or other device as one of their appendages, look in the mirror before threatening dire consequences if they don’t “put that thing down right now!”

Disclaimer: I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m pointing a finger at you. Truth is, when I point at you, my other fingers point back at me! I’m a grandma of five kids, ages 10 – 14, with whom I spend a lot of time. I also have a pretty close relationship with my electronic devices. I’ve had to work at this technology balance too!

There are two important questions to ask yourself while looking in the mirror:

  • What is the appropriate place of these devices in my child’s life and my own?
  • What lessons am I teaching (and...
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The Benefits of Family Meals & Five Tips to Make Them Happen

By Erin Erickson, DNP, MPH, MA

Erin is a nurse practitioner dual certified in family practice and women’s health and currently sees patients at Minnesota Personalized Medicine. She is also Co-Owner and Co-Founder of Mom Enough®, an evidence-based parenting blog. 

Dear busy families with kids:

  1. Do you ever wonder if it’s really worth the effort to have a regular family meal?
  2. After your hard work in the kitchen, are your children done eating within 5 minutes of the food hitting the table and begging to leave?

If you can relate, know that you're not alone. Also know that in spite of what might feel like a futile effort, the time spent on meals is well worth it.

Before I dive into the strategies of making family meals happen, I’d like to invite you to join my family for dinner. The five of us sit on little stools, squished around a too-small table in a too-small kitchen not made for “eating in.”

My oldest son stands over his food, adding...

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Reset Your Sleep Schedule

By Tim Culbert, MD

August offers that last excitement of summer for kids. You can likely relate as the popular summer activities have persisted over the decades: sleeping in, daytime sprinkler-running, ice cream before dinner, and stay-up-too-late-sleepovers. 

September usually comes crashing in with strict school schedules and increased workloads for parents. The result? Tired, cranky kids.

And tired, cranky adults. 

Adjusting to new sleep schedules is tough. Adolescents typically require 8-10 hours of sleep to function optimally. Adults need about the same at 7-9 hours.

One strategy that parents and kids can use to reset sleep schedules is the use of a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is a neurohomone that helps regulate the sleep-wake rhythm. It can be taken orally to help re-establish that rhythm. It also appears to have antioxidant action and supports the immune system. 

In general, doses for melatonin range between 1 and 5 mg and are taken...

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Parenting + The Chemistry of Calm and Joy

kids parenting Mar 13, 2018

Dr. Emmons spent some time with MomEnough to discuss strategies parents can use to bring more calm and joy into family life. 

Listen over here >>>

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Dr. Culbert on Childhood ADHD: "The Kids Are All Right"

Excerpt. Mpls St Paul Magazine; January 30, 2015

The Kids Are All Right

Who’s fighting America’s childhood ADHD epidemic? Dr. Tim Culbert, one deep breath at a time.

Culbert winces and shrinks when he describes the pressures on doctors to diagnose ADHD in kids.

“A lot of characteristics we are supposed to medicate these kids for would be positives in another context: High-energy people who can shift focus easily—that can describe Albert Einstein just as easily as it can describe a kid who can’t sit through six hours of lectures in a classroom. Someone who makes frequent loose, tangential associations? You could call that person unfocused, or a good musician or marketer. Yet if you give a kid a label, you’re going to leave him thinking he’s a lousy thinker,” Culbert says, adding that people tend to give up more easily after the diagnosis has been made.

“A lot of schools say: If you can’t sit in a classroom for six hours and...

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