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Mental Health: Children, Young People, and Families

Mental health is a widely overlooked aspect of a person’s health. People don’t consider it as important as their physical health, mostly because the injuries are not visible. However, they often forget that the signs are always there. Mental health problems are often directly proportional to the day-to-day happenings in our lives. Most mental health problems start developing at a very young age, but parents often ignore the warning signs. At such an impressionable age, children need to be taught about their mental well being too. It is imperative that we address the issue of mental health among children, young people, and families.

Children and Young People

It is seen many-a-times that the physical needs of a child are obvious, but his or her mental needs may be neglected. Even when the red flags are identified, there is a stigma associated with mental illness.

Some problems that children suffer from are ADHD, autism, anxiety, anorexia (eating disorder), depression, and bipolar disorder. Warning signs include intense mood swings, self-harm, substance abuse, sudden appetite loss, fidgeting, and continuous nightmares.

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A few suggestions to nurture a child or adolescent’s mental health could include talking to them about their day; asking them if they are facing any problems at school. This strengthens your bond with them and they start trusting you more. As a parent, make sure that your ward eats a healthy and balanced diet, is physically fit, and takes part in outdoor activities.

Provide children with a healthy environment at home; a child should feel secure in his surroundings. Help them build their self-esteem and confidence while talking to them. Encourage their first steps towards new interests. This would enable them to open up more and express their feelings and doubts. And most importantly, don’t condemn them when they do something wrong. Instead, let them know their mistake and work together to improve it.

Families

It is obvious that an individual’s mental health problems will have consequences for others within his social networks and most importantly his family. When it comes to mental illness, the emotional and behavioral consequences for family members go largely ignored along with having a huge impact on their financial component.

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Family life often becomes unsettled and unpredictable as the needs of the ill become paramount day by day. The afflicted often feels that he’s isolating those close to him. Children may find it difficult to understand why their parent is not his/her usual self. Therefore, many tend to blame themselves and grow up feeling abandoned, lonely, and isolated.

In case a family member suffers from a mental health problem, you should not let him feel dismissed and disregarded. Instead, you could try to understand what he is going through, his inner turmoil, and try to help him cope with that. Children need special care at this time as they are perplexed by the happenings in their lives.

You should try to mend the broken relations, leave the toxic people in your lives behind, and create a positive impact on others’ lives.

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