Rockford - Nearly 43.6 million Americans suffer from some sort of mental illness. A little over a million kids make up part of that statistic.
You can't always tell by watching kids play -- but many children suffer from a mental health disorder.
A number of early life challenges some kids face can lead to a crisis.
Stephen Smith, Administrator of Child and Adolescent Services for Rosecrance says, "The crisis can range from pretty much anything from school refusal down 'I don't want to go to school today' to serious thoughts of self harm."
It's estimated over a million kids suffer from mental health disorder for whom new tools are being developed to help. Like new mobile sensory kits that clinicians at Rosecrance can use in the field to help children deal with stress or mental health disorders.
Smith notes, "in some cases to de-escalate a crisis, and in some cases to help them let their guard down a little bit and start talking about what's going on."
Jason Relle, Outpatient coordinator for Rosecrance says, "they can help bring a calming presence to every single client that may need it and that we serve here."
The sensory kits includes items like such as fidget spinners, toys with lights, objects with texture -- all offering a different experience to help each child cope in that very moment.
They were developed using grants from Club Blue and the Tri-Beta Foundation -- aimed at what's called the Power of Play Program.
"It helps the kids by bringing them items that they may not otherwise have access to in the moment where they may be throwing a tantrum or become aggressive," says Relle,
Overall, mental illness can cost over $700 billion annually in crime, work productivity, and healthcare.
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