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Mental health, tech experts say watch social media for red flags

Posted at 10:53 PM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 00:28:35-04

JOHNSON COUNTY, KS — Someone is always available to take your call at the Johnson County Mental Health Crisis Line.

“At the mental health center you don’t have to know what's wrong with your kid or think that there's something really wrong. If you are concerned you can call in and we are here to problem solve,” Alex Symes, a clinician at the crisis line, said.

Symes said that if you notice strange behavior in a child or loved one, say something.

“People tend to act different before they do things that surprise us,” Symes said. “People isolating more than usual, or kind of seeming to struggle with going about their daily life and maybe seeming frustrated and things like that."

He said it’s especially important for parents with kids who are active on social media to play close attention to their behavior, because the warning could be in plain sight.

“They’ve been more upset recently, they’re more on edge, maybe they’re acting more aggressively or saying things they wouldn’t normally to you or online or to their friends and you’re really concerned about them, we can help you with what to look for and help to find some supports to find out what is going on why are they acting this way,” Symes said.

Technology expert Burton Kelso said what some kids view on social media behind closed doors could lead to bad decision making.

“Parents have to take a deeper look at their kids social media platforms to make sure that they are saying the appropriate things online whether it be with students or whether it is directed towards schools," Kelso said.

Kelso said parents should start with taking a look at their child's direct messages on social media sites.

“Devices are designed to be addictive and keep kids plugged in all the time. So that in itself can cause kids to have anti social behavior because they are used to dealing with the online world as opposed to the real world and I think it’s important that parents take bigger measures to make sure that their kids are using devices responsibly,” said Kelso.

If you are someone you know would like to contact the Johnson County Mental Health Crisis Line for more questions or concerns call 913-268-0156 or visit their website.