Lupus Foundation outlines mental health concerns for children, teens with lupus
Mental health, whether positive or negative, has a significant effect on physical health. It can be difficult to cope with the emotional challenges behind lupus, and many young people don’t know when to ask for help.
Dr. Andrew Knight recently gave a presentation to share important information about pediatric lupus and its unique mental health issues. She included some unfortunate statistics: one out of every three young people who have lupus also has depression or anxiety. In addition, one out of every six young people who have lupus also has thoughts of suicide, making their rates higher than healthy young people their age.
Furthermore, approximately 75 percent of young people with lupus have not completed a mental health evaluation. This is a serious concern, as pediatric lupus usually starts during a young person’s adolescence. It is a crucial time of psychological development, and the young person may struggle with emotions like stress after his or her diagnosis.
When young patients experience these problems, they can also have more difficulty controlling their lupus. In turn, this can affect their education, employment, relationships and quality of life. It is important to watch for changes that can signal a mental health concern in young lupus patients: change in personality, loss of interest, change in concentration and sleep patterns, low self-esteem and more.