Dougherty Co. counselor fights to find mental health solutions for kids, millennials

Fight to find mental health solutions for kids and millennial

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A Dougherty County licensed professional counselor said mental health issues are a big problem in school-aged children, and now is the time for everyone to help fight the battle.

WALB was told mental health in children and millennials is an issue that is mostly due to the lack of understanding about what they’re feeling and not being in environments to be vocal about it.

“Now we have suicidal thoughts coming to our children younger and younger, and they’re not at the developmental level to be able to handle those thoughts,” said Dr. Tracy Knighton, a behavioral health specialist for Dougherty County Schools.

Knighton is a behavioral specialist for the Dougherty County School System by day and a licensed professional counselor at her own practice by night. She believes the behaviors we’re seeing is a deeper rooted problem.

“Giving where we live and what we’ve experienced the past years in Southwest Georgia, weather events can create trauma events for children as well as displaced families. And children who are homeless may be experiencing trauma as well,” explained Knighton.

Trauma and kids struggling to navigate through life themselves is causing suicidal thoughts and other disorders.

“We’re seeing students with ADD, ADHD, students with anxiety and depression,” said Knighton.

Knighton said that while this is the current mental health state of children and millennials, the cure could start with adults outside the school walls.

“They lack that social interaction at home, they lack it in the school setting because home still is where your first teacher comes from,” said Knighton.

Knighton also said it’s going to take parents and adults to sit down and create environments for children to talk.

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