Having a good mental state is equally important as physical well-being, and composure improves the quality of living. Mental health influences how we think, comprehend, and respond to stress, decision-making, problem-solving, etc. It also affects how we deal with stress and makes healthy selections. However, as childhood and adolescence constitute profound changes in peer relationships, separation from caretakers, participation in new cultures and lifestyles, and immense learning prospects, most children struggle with psychological issues, making it even necessary for parents to keep an eye on their child's mental well-being. Worse, Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as ill-treatment, exposure to domestic violence, and substance misuse, can characterise poor mental health of a child across his lifespan. Here's what you can do, tells Mr Tarun Gupta, Co-Founder, Lissun.
Understanding Mental Health Conditions
Every society has a distinct perspective and thoughts about mental health. For example, some communities consider it a "weakness" to ask for help. Furthermore, internalisation of stigmas around mental health, such as 'men don't cry' and 'depression is just mere sadness'. Etc., make it difficult for people to seek help on time. Therefore, understanding mental health in your child requires a brief overview of critical disorders related to mental health.
Depression: Children with depression may encounter changes in eating patterns, such as irritability, lack of trust and confinement in parents, a lack of enthusiasm for things they used to relish, variations in their sleeping habits, changes in energy, and inattention.
Anxiety is referred to as excessive worry and nervousness that is not focused on a single trigger (for example, fear of exams or a specific event/situation). Physical signs to look out for are aches in the stomach, trembling hands and legs, and a racing heart.
Behaviour Problems: Behaviour issues such as temperamental, stealing, compulsive lying, bed-wetting, etc., are essential to notice. Behavioural issues of adolescence can lead to adult abusive behavioural practices that can materialise as a pattern of disruptive behaviours in children. Behaviour issues can occur in numerous settings, including, but not restricted to, school, home, and social occasions.
Encouraging Tele mental health services (healthcare delivered remotely via smartphone) may also help reduce the "shame" associated with seeking mental health treatment. In addition, this intervention gives students with busy class schedules more flexibility and provides additional opportunities for students who might otherwise be hesitant to seek care.
Throughout the continuum of support, make sure there is a process for developing crisis response plans for children and students who may persistently be in crisis (e.g., experiencing suicidal thoughts or domestic violence) that is (a) proactive and preventive, (b) aligned with intervention tiers, and (c) guided by information and data.
Taking Care Of Your Mental Health
You must practise healthy behaviours to help your child with their mental health.
Do something to destress every day, preferably away from your child.
Set aside time during the day for sober contemplation and meditation.
Participate in family exercise (e.g., yoga, hiking).