Recent world events such as the tragic school shooting in Connecticut, or the ongoing devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy raise significant concerns about the impact on children. However, given that 1 in 10 children will struggle with a developmental, learning or mental health diagnosis during the course of childhood or adolescence, insuring that all children have access to good quality behavioral health care is critical. Melissa Doyle, PhD, Program Director of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, sees firsthand the impact of these issues on children and their families.
Dr. Doyle notes that these struggles for children have a significant impact on their function in all areas of their life including their capacity to learn, play and engage in normal development. It is at those times that Dr. Doyle notes the critical importance of having good quality behavioral health resources to insure that children can develop strategies to address these issues and gain functional coping skills.
"Children are significantly impacted by stresses on their families," says Dr. Doyle. "We know that economic stress and environmental events often result in the need to move your home and transition to a new school resulting in the loss of friends and known sources of support. The impact of this stress on the entire family further impacts the child's stability and function. At these times, strengthening the family unit strongly improves a child's overall capacity for stability."
Social work staff is available in key areas at Albany Medical Center. In the Emergency Department or in the Intensive Care Units, social workers are available for crisis counseling and to provide needed resources. In the Outpatient Clinical areas, the focus is more on adjustment to a diagnosis or illness and working on addressing family stability and coping.