Why Children’s Mental Health Is Important?
Mental health is a topic that people don’t discuss often. You hear too many hush if someone wants to seek mental help. So the topic of ‘children’s mental health’ is way too far from being understood by many people. The shhh is louder, and the acceptance rate is quieter. But let’s understand children’s mental health’s importance today.
The truth is, though, that adults often ignore the latter, but according to experts and psychologists, mental health issues can affect anyone at any time. That means if a child has experienced trauma, it is likely to boil up and ruin their growth and adulting.
Children’s mental health matters greatly, and if we avoid it, it could have serious consequences. They are at a developing age and a lot of factors affect their well-being. Children are sensitive and dependent on adults; therefore, they are vulnerable. However, many adults often mistake a few actions with love and learning. Any trauma could have unpredictable effects.
How is Children’s Mental Health Different From Adults?
The fact that children are at growing age and such development is quite gradual in adults makes the difference. So child psychiatry and adult psychiatry have different approaches when treating mental health issues. Even if the issues are similar, certain problems affect children and adults differently.
Signs and behavioral disorders to notice:
- Disruptive Behavior Disorders
- Urine Leakage
- Sleeping difficulties due to recurring nightmares or terrors
- Increased physical issues like pain in certain body parts
While in adults, depression and anxiety disorders are more common, easily detectable, and often treatable due to their ability to cooperate with professionals.
SEE ALSO: Triggering Sound Mental Health
Why Children’s Mental Health Is Not Taken Seriously?
We often hear adults saying that they want to live their childhood again or narrating stories from their past with utmost happiness. They have memories of an easy life; a life free of tensions, no bills to pay, and no heartbreaks. But it is only in the case of those who have had a normal childhood without any mental traumas.
However, in most households children want to grow up fast to get away from their parents or guardians. Why? Because of the pain and agony caused by irresponsible adults. Many people right now are able to relate to what I am trying to convey. You may be digging into your childhood memories now and trying to remember if you were actually a happy and safe child or not; if who you are today is the result of what happened in the past.
Due to a lack of awareness or education, many children go undiagnosed and suffer in silence. Many adults choose to ignore if their child is exhibiting symptoms of mental illness. Societal pressure, stigma, taboo, whatever the reason, nothing justifies the disregard toward children’s mental health. Moreover, they cannot understand what is happening to them.
The main reasons why such a prevalent matter as this is overlooked are:
- The stigma attached to mental health
- Experiencing traumas like sexual assault, domestic violence, or the absence of one or both parents.
- Children not being able to reach out
- Lack of proper awareness leads to a scarcity of help
- A broken family/ Divorce/ Separation seems common
- Ignored symptoms by parents and teachers
- Symptoms are considered natural for the growing and developmental process
Why Should You Take Children’s Mental Health Seriously?
I have mentioned the reasons briefly above. However, the lesser the details, the lesser the awareness.
We know that children are weaker than adults, physically or mentally. Everything in their bodies is blooming, and that too at a fast pace. All the external factors related to negativity could hinder the normal process of them developing correctly. Something that may seem small to us can shatter their whole world. Factors like bullying, grief, the death of a loved one, abuse, or even moving to a different location can affect your child’s mental health.
The areas that could get affected if we do not understand the importance of children’s mental health sooner-
Physical Health and Mental Health Are Interconnected
The relationship between physical and mental health is not easy to grasp, but we cannot deny the fact that there is a strong relationship. ‘The Divided Mind: The Epidemic Of Mindbody Disorder‘ is a popular book that proves the importance of mental health and how our body responds to poor cognitive health. Notice the wordplay, Mindbody; it is to demonstrate that the mind and body are interconnected sharing each other’s benefits and pains. The poor mental health of children could lead to poor physical health and vice versa.
Children May Become Selectively Social
Children may become selectively social which could lead to isolation from the world and even close ones. They may be unable to recognize why they feel what they feel, and their possible outlet could be the distance from everyone. Parents, friends, relatives, and making connections with strangers, none of it remains possible due to social withdrawal.
SEE ALSO: Why Comfort Zone is Double Trouble?
Their Ability To Cope With Problems Deteriorates
Children, when hiding from people around them, develop a habit of avoiding situations. At times when the circumstances won’t be in their favor, instead of facing the challenge and addressing it in the right way, running away could be their reaction. Throwing tantrums or sudden rage could also be a possible reaction.
Children May Become Emotionally Unstable
Mental health issues affect the emotional aspect to a great extent. Often undealt depression or any issue comes out as a whole in the form of anger, or something worse. Not only in childhood but also adulthood, children could be detached from their emotions. This is grave and can have serious consequences.
There is a chance of feeling suicidal or being so emotionless that the pain of others brings them joy. Yes, this is very true and terrible. When the child’s own emotions are disconnected, they have difficulty understanding other people’s emotions.
Lack Of Confidence Leads To Lack Of Opportunities
Hiding from problems and not knowing how to react accordingly to a matter could affect the child’s confidence. It is one of those important traits that are essential for academic and practical life performance.
Deteriorating confidence will make them pull away from people, activities, social gatherings, and even participating in class. A common problem due to lack of confidence is an inferiority complex which is very common even in adults.
Academic Performance Shows Signs Of Poor Mental Health
Academic performance is the most affected due to poor mental health. A child’s learning ability depends upon their emotional intelligence. It builds their grasping power. However, if the base of their learning isn’t strong, they are most likely to experience poor academic performance. Other than that, the child could lose interest in any activities at all.
Poor Mental Health Slows Down Cerebral Development
Poor mental health conditions can act on the right build-out of a child’s brain. Normal social situations could be hard for them to deal with. Understanding and interacting with other people could be something that the child is unable to do. They could also possess performance issues, their limbic system can be affected; in fact, their entire personality can be descending.
Personality Disorders Come With Behavioral Disorders
Shyness, lack of confidence, and no social skills are going to take a hold of the child’s personality. Eventually what’s going to happen is that the child turns out to have a personality disorder.
What Is The Role Of Adults In Children’s Mental Health?
Role of Parents in Mental Health
With the understanding of children’s mental health importance, it is necessary to understand that parents play a huge role in a child’s overall development of mental health.
Parents need to have a deep and open connection with their children. Children are not clever or aware like adults. They may not be able to reach out to you and share with you. There is a high chance that they don’t have the correct words to tell you. After all, they don’t have the knowledge of the importance of mental health. That is why it is crucial for parents to keep a note of any changes in their child’s behavior or their own actions that can affect them.
Role of teachers in Mental Health
The teacher’s role is the next. After parents, children spend the most time with teachers in school. So identifying the patterns is essential. I personally believe that each school should have a counselor to keep a check on each child’s performance. This way if a child does not feel safe opening up to their parents, they know taking professional help is just a knock away.
Teachers should be trained accordingly too. Any unusual behavioral patterns require immediate attention and can only be understood by those who have knowledge of it.
Professional Methods To Help Your Child’s Mental Health
We have discussed the importance of children’s mental health briefly. Now it’s time to understand what can be done to keep them stable and healthy. There are multiple ways parents can seek help for their child’s wellness. However, the topmost solution is always professional help first. Psychiatry offers different areas parents and children can opt for as per their comfort and needs.
- Family Therapy– This is the most common form of therapy as a child spends most of the time with their family. It is highly a chance that the adults or siblings planted a seed of mental illness in the child. Family therapy also focuses on parent education which is often taken for granted.
- Individual Therapy: The second most common and effective is individual therapy. This method of counseling or therapy involves a one-to-one session with a child counselor. Children are slowly eased into opening up about what’s bothering them.
- School Counseling: Another therapy that offers a wide range of possibilities for improvising your child’s mental health is school counseling. After family, a child spends most of their time at school. A trained psychologist there can help with understanding academic progress as well as any change in behavioral patterns.
If you witness parental abuse in your neighborhood, quickly call for child care services. They take care of everything from methods of counseling to finding the child a new family if required.
The suffering and pain are at large. So, if you have a chance to make things right for your child, we recommend you to start now. There are parenting websites where parents share their experiences with their children’s growth, development, and behaviors. This is another great method to gain knowledge apart from directly seeking professionals or googling.