Children & Mental Health

When it comes to Mental Health, we always assume it’s an “adult problem”. Mental health issues exist just as much in children, they may not be as obvious, but are just as important and should not be overlooked at any cost.


The most common childhood mental health disorders are:

  1. General or separation anxiety
  2. Depression
  3. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

While you may not be able to notice the first two very easily, some of the common consequences/symptoms of mental health issues in children are:

  1. General or separation anxiety
  2. Depression
  3. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  4. Difficulty in learning
  5. Poor school performance
  6. Lethargy
  7. Constant boredom
  8. Excessive tantrums and moodiness
  9. Lack of sleep or sleeping too much, bed wetting, etc
  10. Excessive Clinginess
  11. More frequent complaints of stomach pain, headache, etc (however this is not a deciding factor)

There could be tons of other factors, since each child is different and reacts to things differently, but these are some of the most common symptoms.

What You Can Do

Mental Health problems should be addressed just like other illnesses. With proper attention to the problem and guidance from an expert, they can be treated completely.

Normalise Talking About Problems

This is the first step. Make it a point to have meaningful conversations as a family, over meals or even during family time. Your child may be too young to understand everything, but it creates a safe space for everyone to truly express what’s on their mind. This could be great for you too!

Teach Them How To Express

Teach your child the language of feelings. Help your children grow, by teaching them words for different emotions, and use examples to explain every emotion, so when those feelings arise in themselves and others, they can tell you exactly what they feel.

Be Approachable

Most children tend to mask their feelings early on, as they’re afraid of being judged, and consider every feeling besides happiness and joy, shameful. Try to be their go-to person for everything- big or small. Keep an open mind while talking to them, don’t sound too opinionated. Be as amicable as you can. It isn’t healthy if your child can’t tell you what’s going on. When kids are acting out, there are reasons, and many things can be done to help. What could be better for your child than knowing they have someone to talk to, no matter what the problem is?

Don’t Panic

If you notice persistent symptoms of mental health disorders in your child, it becomes all the more important for you to be calm. Stressing or panicking will never help in making the right choices. These issues are treatable. They need someone to calm them down, it shouldn’t be the other way round. Speak to their doctor, be a good listener, take baby steps.

Don’t Go In Denial Mode

Most people refuse to believe their child could go through something like this. Mental health is a problem and should be given proper attention and medical assistance, if needed. “You’ll snap out of it”, “It’s a phase”, “Nothing is wrong with you”, are some of the things you must avoid saying. If your child is too young to decipher what’s happening, you should explain to them in a way they’d understand. Be as involved as you can, they need all the support they can get.

Exercise

Make it a rule for everyone in the house to exercise at least for 30 mins. You could also try family workouts, and if your child is too young, a dance session or outdoor playtime could be great! Exercise has a direct impact on a person’s wellbeing- be it any age group.

Encourage Creativity:

Activities like art, craft, drawing, painting, pretend play, etc are some of the best ways for your child to express themselves. Try to encourage your child to do such activities on a daily basis, it helps your child express their feelings better and will also help you gauge what’s on their mind.

Consult An Expert

If you think the home remedies didn’t work as much as you would’ve liked them to- please consult an expert. Only a professional will be able to accurately understand what the cause is, and this will also speed up the recovery process. You know what’s best for your child, and if you think this is the right thing to do, please don’t let the society make you feel otherwise.

Be Patient:

We understand it’s not easy seeing your child upset or sick. But it’s important for you to stay strong and positive for them. It makes them hopeful, even if they don’t know what they’re going through. It also makes them feel better. This is not something that can be treated overnight. Patience is of utmost importance. It’s a slow process, but with the right kind of attitude and help, you’ll see your little one running around the house, all happy and smiles in no time!

 
Have you ever experienced something similar? How did you cope? Let’s help each other out!

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