Early childhood and adolescence are critical life stages for mental health. During this time fast growth and development take place in the brain. Children and adolescents learn cognitive and social-emotional skills to shape their future mental health. These are significant for assuming adult roles in society.
Mental health problems generally affect around one in six kids. These can include depression, anxiety, and conduct disorder (a type of behavioral problem) and are often directly related to their family life. Disturbingly, 75% of children and young people experiencing mental health problems aren’t getting the support necessary.
The emotional well-being of young people is essential as their physical health. Proper mental health helps in developing resilience to cope with situations and grow into versatile, healthy adults.
Importance of mental well-being
- Mental Health Affects Physical Health- The mind and the physique are coupled. Many mental disorders cause stress, which weakens the immune system. This means more recurrent illnesses and failure to cope.
- End Stigma and Shame to Lead Better Lives- Stigma begets shame. Shame creates destructive behaviors. Destructive behaviors generate self-deterioration. Stigma spreads when we don’t talk about mental health and its importance. Ultimately, those who suffer from mental illness must need treatment. But without awareness and breaking the stigma surrounding their condition, they won’t feel comfortable asking someone for help. This reinforces the stigma and encourages more struggle and shame.
Mental Health Affects Everything- Our mental health affects how we cope with life Lack of treatment leads to hopelessness and sadness, worthlessness, guilt, anxiety and worry, fear, and loss of control.
Factors influencing children and young people mentally well include:
- Sound Physical health, intake of a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise
- Relaxation time & opportunity to play, indoors and outdoors
- Support from family
- Educational institutions looking into the overall well-being of students
Participation in social activities in school or locality
Other factors are also playing a role, feeling of love, trust, and safety. Kids who are cheerful, and resilient, have greater control over their lives. Their attitude and sense of belonging help strengthen their mental ability and have a well-balanced life. Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have mental health problems than in earlier times.
Factors affecting the mental health of children and young people?
Trauma triggers mental health problems for children and young people who are already vulnerable. Deviations often act as triggers: for example, shifting home, changing school, or the birth of a new sibling. Some kids who start school have an excitement about making new friends and doing new activities, but some also feel anxious. Teenagers often undergo emotional turmoil as their minds and bodies develop. A significant part of growing up is exercising and acceptance of self. Some young ones struggle with this transition to adulthood and get tempted to try alcohol, drugs, or other substances that can affect mental health.
The reason some children and young people are likely to experience mental health problems?
Certain risk influences may increase the likelihood that some children and adolescents will suffer from mental health problems more than others. However, experiencing them doesn’t confirm a child will definitely – or even probably – go on to have mental health problems.
These factors include:
- Prolonged physical illness.
- Parents with Mental problems, problems with alcohol, or have been in trouble with the law.
- The demise of someone close to them.
- Parents’ separation or divorce.
- Poverty or homelessness.
- Taking up responsibilities at a young age.
- Difficulties in educational institutions.
- Undergoing extreme bullying, physical or sexual abuse.
Some common mental health issues in children are:
- Depression: affecting more kids and young people today than in the last few decades. Teenagers are more likely to get depression than young children.
- Self-harm: Another very common problem among young people. Some people who experience intense emotional pain deal with it by hurting themselves.
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD): Causes young people to become enormously worried. Infants or children starting or moving school may have separation anxiety.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Effect of physical or sexual abuse, witnessing something extremely frightening or traumatizing, being the victim of violence or severe bullying, or surviving a disaster.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Children who are constantly overactive, impulsive, and have attention difficulty may have
- Eating disorders: Begins in the teenage years and are more common in females than males. The percentage of young people with an eating disorder is small, but eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can affect physical health and development.
A child’s mental health and parents’ support
A mentally healthy childhood emphasizes reaching developmental and emotional milestones and learning healthy social skills and how to cope when there are problems. Mentally strong children are more likely to have a positive quality of life and are more likely to enjoy life at home, in school, and in their communities. The healthy and cordial development of a child depends on parents and other caregivers who play the role of parents. They serve as their initial sources of support for leading a successful healthy independent life. The mental health of parents and that of children are linked in many ways. Parents suffering from their own mental health challenges, such as coping with symptoms of depression or anxiety (fear or worry), finds difficulty providing care for their child compared to parents having good mental health. Caring for children becomes a challenge for parents, especially if they lack resources and support, which also creates a negative effect on a parent’s mental health. Parents and children may also face shared risks, such as inherited vulnerabilities, living in unsafe environments, and facing discrimination or deprivation.
Fathers’ presence is important for children’s mental health
Fathers are central to promoting children’s mental health, although they are not as often included in research studies as mothers. A recent study looked at fathers and other male caregivers and found similar links between their mental health and the general mental health of their child as well as for the mothers and other women who care for them.
Help available for young people?
If worried about your mental health as a young individual, there is help available. Connect with services and organizations that help people with mental health issues. Visit our page Mental Health Canter – International University of Public Health and Technology (iupht.org), or look at ‘organizations that can help’ for support that is specifically for young people.
Parents concerned about the child – what can They do?
A simple habit of parents or guardians can help them- listen to their children and take their feelings seriously. They may want a hug, they may want you to help them change something, or they may want hands-on help.
The negative feelings of children and young people usually pass. However, it’s a good idea to ask for help if your child has been in distress for a long time. time, if their feelings prevent them from advancing with their lives, if their anxiety is, disrupting family life, or repeatedly behaving in ways one would not expect at their age. If your child is having difficulty at school, a teacher, school nurse, school counselor or school psychologist may be able to help. Otherwise, go to your GP or speak to a health visitor. Else, go to your GP or talk to a health visitor. Different specialists often work together in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Most mental health support services for children and young people are provided free of charge by the NHS, your child’s school, or your council’s social services department. WHO supports the Member States in developing and implementing multisectoral, evidence-based, and human rights-based strategies to promote mental health, the prevention of mental disorders, and the provision of mental health care to children, adolescents, and their families.
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