CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH
CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH
The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.
Children are at risk and are vulnerable as certain changes can act as triggers like moving from one city to another or school or the birth of a new sibling. Some children may feel excited about making new friends and doing new activities or starting to go to new place, while there may also be some who feel anxious about entering a new environment.
A major part of growing up involves accepting who you are. Some young people have a hard time making this transition to adulthood and may experiment with alcohol, drugs or other substances that can affect mental health.
Is This Just a Stage or a phase?
Mental health — is an essential part of a child’s overall health — has a complex interactive relationship with their physical health and their ability to succeed in school, at work and in society. Both physical and mental health affect how we think, feel and act on the inside and outside.
For instance, an overweight young girl who is teased about her looks and weight may withdraw socially and become depressed and may be reluctant to play with others or exercise, which further contributes to her poorer physical health and as a result poorer mental health
- Seek help when a child’s behavior or emotional difficulties last for more than a few weeks and are causing problems at school, at home, or with friends.
- Early treatment can help address a child’s current difficulties and can also help prevent more serious problems in the future.
Young children may benefit from an evaluation and treatment if they:
- Have frequent tantrums or are intensely irritable much of the time
- Often talk about fears or worries
- Complain about frequent stomachaches or headaches with no known medical cause
- Are in constant motion and cannot sit quietly (except when they are watching videos or playing video games)
- Sleep too much or too little, have frequent nightmares.
- Are not interested in playing with other children or have difficulty making friends
- Have experienced a recent decline in grades
- Have lost interest in things that they used to enjoy
- Fear gaining weight, or diet or exercise excessively
If you are concerned about your child, where do you begin?
- Talk with your child. What is the child’s behavior like?
- Talk with your child’s pediatrician. Describe the behavior, and report what you have observed and learned from talking with others.
- Ask for a referral to a mental health professional.
– Sanyukta Tanwar