Taboo or not, mental health problems are real and quite common among children. Fret not though, as they are treatable, especially when you make it a point to look out for any issues your child may be facing. While one in five children live with at least one clinically diagnosed mental health problem, close to two-thirds of them get little or no help for it.
Left untreated, mental health problems can interfere with your child’s development and way of life. Children with mental health problems that go untreated or undiagnosed have a higher chance of not functioning well in society, be it failing in school, getting in trouble with the law and even dealing with suicidal thoughts. This may sound harsh, but it is true, and as a parent, you should not be ignoring the signs.
Often, parents or elder family members are the first to notice the signs of mental health issues. These issues mostly manifest as troubling behaviour or a child’s difficulty to handle their own emotions. Being proactive in looking out for your child’s mental health also extends to your child’s teachers, caregivers, and anyone who spends a significant amount of time with them.
Looking out for your child can help them reach their full potential
Your child’s mental health might be stopping them from reaching their full potential. This is why you should always look out for signs. If you are not sure about your gut feelings, you can put things to rest by bringing your child for a mental health check-up. To avoid having your child feel that something may be wrong with them, you can suggest doing it as a family. After all, you and your partner will benefit from regular mental health checks as well, and your child should grow up knowing that looking out for our mental health is important.
Based on the information you get from the mental health checks, you can start a conversation with your child about any issues they may be facing. “What makes you happy?” and “What makes you sad?” are good questions to start with. Pay attention to the things they say which may be useful when you speak with a mental health professional.
If your child is diagnosed with a mental health problem, a suitable treatment plan should be wholesome. Yoga, counselling, psychotherapy, psychiatric help and balanced nutrition all make up a well-rounded treatment plan. Get second opinions if you like, but do not be opposed to trying any of the suggested methods. Finding the best treatment may take some trial and error, and your child will need your support throughout this process.
So how do you know if your child’s mental health is a cause for concern? Look out for these signs:
9 signs that may indicate your child is facing mental health problems
- A decline in school performance that does not coincide with any significant changes in lifestyle, such as moving to a new home or starting weekend classes
- Poor grades despite your child’s best efforts
- Wanting to stay in bed for long periods of time
- Constant worry or anxiety over things that seem small to you
- Repeated refusal to take part in regular activities
- Hyperactivity or excessive fidgeting
- Persistent nightmares or signs of insomnia
- Persistent aggression or bad behaviour
- Frequent temper tantrums that seem out of control
- Depression, sadness or irritability that seems to come out of nowhere
These signs are meant to serve as a guide. If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, you can learn more about what can be done here.