Jonathan W. Shook, MD, Highlights Urgent Issues in Children’s Mental Health on WDAM

Jonathan W. Shook, MD, a pediatrician and medical director at Hattiesburg Clinic Connections, recently discussed the growing crisis in children’s mental health with WDAM.

Children’s mental health is essential to their overall well-being, but millions experience significant challenges like ADHD, anxiety and depression. These issues often go unnoticed until they escalate into more severe conditions, including instances where children might harm themselves.

“The number of kids in America with ADHD has been around nine to ten percent, anxiety is about nine percent; depression is more like four to five percent,” Dr. Shook explained. He also noted the alarming rise in suicide attempts and deaths by suicide among children and adolescents. “Rates of suicide attempts have been increasing. Rates of death by suicide have been increasing,” he stated.

Shook emphasized that the increase in mental health struggles among children cannot be attributed to a single cause. “There are genetics, physical health or more complex factors,” he said. He pointed out that children living in poverty or belonging to minority groups face higher risks of mental health struggles and diagnoses. Additionally, adverse childhood events and traumas significantly contribute to future mental health problems.

Shook encouraged parents to seek help through their child’s primary doctor as the first step in addressing these issues. 

Follow the link to read or watch the full interview:


About Hattiesburg Clinic Connections:

Hattiesburg Clinic Connections serves as a regional resource center for children, adolescents and adults who struggle with learning, attention problems, behavioral concerns or emotional difficulties. The team at Connections uses evidence informed guidelines as well as standard of care practices to help improve the lives of people with conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and autism spectrum disorder.  Our providers are dedicated to helping individuals and families function in such a way that each person reaches their fullest potential. 

Connections works closely with Hattiesburg Clinic Psychology & Counseling, which is located in the same building. Psychologists and counselors work directly with their patients and with the medical management team at Connections to determine a plan that creates positive change.

About Hattiesburg Clinic:

Hattiesburg Clinic is Mississippi’s largest privately-owned, multispecialty clinic.  More than 60 years after its beginning, the clinic has grown to over 450 physicians and providers, caring for patients in more than 17 counties in South Mississippi. Along with over 2,500 professional staff employees, these physicians and providers come together for a common purpose, to serve the over 500,000 community members who live and work in South Mississippi every day.