Shared by Academics West.
Mental health is vital for kids as it’s for adults. Studies show that one in five kids will go through a mental health issue when they hit 18 years. Hence the importance of normalizing health and talking about health issues openly.
In the article below, we expound on what mental health issues are, discuss why they’re common in kids, and offer guidance to parents on ways they can assist their children with mental health issues.
What Are Mental Health Issues?
Mental health issues affect an individual’s emotional well-being and overall mental state.
These issues can manifest in various forms, including; anxiety, depression, restlessness and (ADHD) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
These conditions can cause numerous symptoms that impact a child’s thinking, mood and behaviour.
Case in point, anxiety; is a symptom known to cause excessive worry, restlessness, or fear.
Depression can cause a child to become overly sad, lose interest, become sleepless and lose their appetite. ADHD can lead to difficulties with focus, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Why Are Mental Health Issues Common In Kids?
Numerous factors contribute to mental health issues prevalence in children, the most common being;
Genetics: Some children have a predisposition to developing mental health issues. It means that if a family member suffered a mental health condition, the child is likely also to build one.
Environment: Kids that undergo stress, abuse, or trauma have higher chances of developing mental health issues. Adverse experiences can negatively impact a child’s mental well-being and will contribute to the development of various mental conditions.
Brain Development: The brain continues to develop throughout childhood and teenagehood. If the growth gets interrupted, the child becomes more susceptible to mental health issues.
Various factors, including genetics, environment, and experiences, influence the intricate processes involved throughout brain development.
How Can I Assist My Child With A Mental Health Issue?
If you have suspicions that your kid might have a mental health issue, it’s vital that you seek professional help. Start by booking a doctor’s appointment—book with a mental health professional qualified to assess the child’s condition to provide a diagnosis.
Once a proper diagnosis is undertaken, there are a few ways parents can support their child’s mental health journey, such as;
Getting therapy: Therapy is a valuable tool for children undergoing mental health issues. It’s a p[rocess that will help the child learn how to manage their symptoms, develop coping strategies, and improves their overall well-being.
There are different kinds of therapy available today, including;
- Play Therapy
- Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy
The doctor will diagnose the ideal type of therapy to meet the child’s needs.
Consider medication: Doctors sometimes recommend medications to help alleviate symptoms and properly manage mental health problems.
Remember, medications should always be prescribed and closely monitored by qualified healthcare professionals knowledgeable and practising paediatric mental health.
Make Lifestyle Changes: To fully support your child’s mental health, you must make lifestyle changes that support their well-being. Encourage the child to engage in regular exercise or any physical activity. These are routines that promote well-being.
Prioritize healthy eating habits, meal-prep balanced diet foods rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Please encourage your child to sleep early since it plays a vital role in the kid’s overall mental and physical health.
How Can I Normalize Mental Health?
Open and honest conversations are the gateway to normalizing mental health. Regularly engaging your kids about mental health will help reduce stigma and promote understanding.
Allow your kids to understand that it’s okay to be okay and that seeking help isn’t a weakness but a sign of strength. Moreover, you can help normalize mental health by discussing it with your family, friends, and community members.
Discussing mental health topics or sharing personal experiences openly helps foster an environment where kids feel safe and comfortable seeking support and understanding.
Academics West | Additional Tips
Be a good role model: Kids learn and incorporate behavior by observing their parents and caregivers. Teach your kids healthy ways to handle stress and difficult emotions.
Show them how to practice self-care, undertake stress-reducing activities, and seek support when things overwhelm them.
Create a supportive environment: Remind your kids often that you’ll always be there for them and that your love for them is unconditional. Foster open communication and create a safe space for them where they are free to express themselves without feeling judged.
Please encourage your kid to talk about their feelings: Let them know that it’s okay for them to feel sad, scared, or angry. Please let them have open conversations about emotions and provide the necessary support and reassurance.
Please help your child develop coping skills: Teach your child techniques to help them relax. Please encourage them to learn mindfulness and deep breathing exercises to help them manage stress and anxiety.
You can encourage your child to express their feelings by taking up writing, art or sharing with a trusted adult. Teach your kids problem-solving skills that will empower them to find solutions for any challenges they face.
Don’t be judgemental: It’s critical that you remember that mental health issues aren’t a sign of character flaws or weaknesses.
Be compassionate and understanding, and avoid being judgemental or blameful. Focus on providing support and getting the right resources to aid your child.
Seek assistance when you need it: Taking care of your child’s mental health can sometimes be challenging and overwhelming. If you find yourself struggling to cope, get help for yourself.
Sign up for support groups, reach out to therapists, search for online resources, and all aspects that will grant you guidance and support.
Mental health is critical for kids as it is for adults. When you suspect your child may be going through a mental health issue, seek professional help and support.
Proper diagnosis, therapy and lifestyle changes will equip your child with the right tools to properly manage their symptoms properly, thus improving their overall well-being.
By openly discussing mental health and promoting understanding, we shall normalize it within our family and society.
Always remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and together we can create a supportive environment where kids will thrive mentally and emotionally.