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Episode 103. Understanding & Finding Help with Children’s Mental Health with Dr. Donna Lane

Episode 103

I learned from Dr. Donna Lane that : “According to a 2016 study published by Whitney and Peterson, one in six kids between 6 and 17 have a mental health diagnosis. This was, of course, pre-COVID. A recent study in Psychiatric Times indicated that isolation and loneliness increase the risk of depression up to 9 years after the event, and the duration vs. the intensity of loneliness was more likely to cause long-term mental health issues.”

No wonder our children’s mental health is one of the main concerns of many moms I talk with. But there are so many stigmas around mental health and fear of diagnosis that it can be difficult to navigate the world of mental health for ourselves, let alone our children.

We’ve talked about adult mental health topics here on the podcast before, but today we’re turning our focus to children’s mental health.

It’s a timely topic for all families right now as we navigate the events of the world. Dr. Donna Lane is here with us to share the basics plus deeper insights. We talk about why/when/how people seek mental health help for their children…and then goes on to explain in clear terms what mental health resources are available to children (what a psychiatrist is, psychologist, counselor, family therapist, and social workers) and then what therapy/counseling sessions look like both online and in-person.

Dr. Donna’s messages are for moms of younger kids as well as moms of teens who are concerned about the isolation from peer relationships and how that’s affecting their kids, signs to look for, and how to reach out. There are some thorough and helpful links to resources in the show notes.

Donna’s Bio: Drs. David and Donna Lane are a husband-wife counseling duo who specialize in trauma, grief, and loss as well as family relationships. While qualified by education, their life experience shapes much of their current-day work, as they have experienced first-hand the horrific death of their own son, who had a neurological disorder throughout his 17 years on earth. The Lanes are professors, counselors, consultants and award-winning authors; their research and writing on trauma and grief has been used extensively throughout the world in the aftermath of tragedies including the Sandy Hook shootings, Haiti earthquakes, Rwandan genocide and others. The Lanes live in the Atlanta area and have been married to each other for more than 40 years.

In this episode Dr. Donna & I talk about:

  • Finding our true identity and being able to express ourselves
  • Core qualities for creating change is genuineness
  • Why parents seek out mental health help for their children
  • Unpacking our fear-based questions like “Am I messing up my kids?”
  • Circumstances in the home that lead families to therapy and counseling
  • How do we help our children through challenging times
  • How can we help our kids with everything that is happening with Covid and in the world right now?
  • How concerned are parents about mental health—a lot or is it overlooked?
  • Stigmas attached to mental illness and seeking counseling
  • It’s okay to not know what questions to ask
  • Fear-based approaches: we create what we most fear unconsciously
  • Reassurance that we are loving our child and loving our child well
  • Asking questions and gathering resources
  • Looking for a diagnosis vs. just looking for help
  • “What am I doing wrong?” – a question most parents bring to counseling and therapy
  • You don’t have to diagnose in order to help with a specific issue
  • The difference between psychiatrist and psychologist
  • The difference between counselor and therapist
  • The role of social workers and the support they provide
  • Finding local resources for mental health
  • Using school counselors and insurance companies to find mental health resources
  • Psychology Today has lists
  • Open Path Psychotherapy Collective
  • The power of word of mouth when finding a counselor
  • Play therapy training for young children
  • Looking for therapist who is of the same faith as you
  • Psychology is acknowledging these days that spirituality is a very important part of mental health and a holistic approach to health and wellbeing
  • People of faith have greater resilience during hard times
  • Bringing the spiritual element back into our everyday lives and healing
  • Not feeling guilty when we want to switch counselors
  • Healing and help take a long time—it’s a slow unfolding
  • Depression looks very different in children than it does in adults
  • Depression in children can look like anger
  • Nail biting
  • Habitual behaviors and stress relief
  • Behaviors (i.e. anger and agitation) that concern parents
  • Replacing anxious behaviors
  • What a therapy session looks like with kids
  • What ages issues show up in children (as early as 2 and 4)
  • Depression can show up as early as age 4 or 5
  • Conduct disorder and defiance disorder can show up in school age children
  • Severe disorders show up later in childhood and adolescence
  • Moms of teens: how we can support our kids during this time of isolation
  • Physical hunger we feel is very similar to the social hunger teens feel
  • Focusing on our mental health as moms—healing and growing as we help our children
  • The role of prayer in mental health and healing
  • Therapy in-person and online
  • There are certification on tele-mental health
  • Research shows that tele-mental health is just as effective as face to face therapy sessions
  • Books the Drs. Lane have written together (mentioned: Strength in Adversity)

Online Resources for Mental Health:,, and

Dr. Donna Lane’s Links: Website and Instagram

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