Improve Children’s Mental Health
In our society and traditional education, child mental health is an often-overlooked area. Children’s mental health in India was impacted severely due to changes in lifestyle and general environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your child lives in a highly fast-paced society crowded with content produced by mass media.
We may also sometimes fail to notice the different problems encountered by children. Children’s recreation, social life, routines, and relationships with friends or classmates are important areas you should keep an eye on.
UNESCO’s recent studies show us the ground reality of child mental health in India. According to the survey, one in seven of our children face mental health issues including anxiety, depression, ADHD, bipolar, and borderline personality disorder.
Image Source: childmind.org./
We should set our children’s mental health as our priority along with their physical well-being. Besides, your children’s mental health is an important factor in assuring the safe and happy development of your child. For this, we have to ensure children’s safety without hindering their education or hobbies.
The following are answers to questions that are often asked by parents about children’s mental health in India. They will help you understand better how to ensure the safe and sound development of your child.
What is Child Mental Health?
Child mental health involves the entire well-being and ideal development of a child in the behavioral, social, cognitive, and social domains.
Most often, children’s mental health is distinctly identified from adults’ mental health. Moreover, it is more multifaceted due to the unique developmental milestones they experience.
Children’s mental health disorders often involve frequent interferences in their thought, feeling, and action. Some behavioral issues are normal during the child’s development. That said, some issues will require professional help.
As you know, inherent characteristics of the child such as gender and genetics are important aspects that determine children’s well-being. However, a child’s mental health is also influenced by other aspects that modify or directly affect mental health. This includes factors such as children’s family, locality, community, or the broader society.
What is the importance of Children’s Mental Health in India?
Our children’s childhoods are much different from that of all the previous generations. They have smartphones, laptops, the internet, gaming, and a rapidly changing world around them. Along with these, the widespread overuse of social media and lifestyle influences are factors that affect a vast majority of children’s mental health in India.
In addition, they had to encounter the difficulties caused during the COVID-19 pandemic era, when classroom education had to be temporarily stopped and when cities were under lockdown.
A recent WHO survey on children’s mental health in India also tells us that most of our children lack awareness of mental health and do not have the accessibility to professional mental health services. According to the study, over 10 percent of adolescents in our country struggle with a mental health issue but rarely seek help.
Hence, you should ensure that your child or children are not facing any mental, emotional, or behavioral issues as it can adversely affect their future.
If you think that your child faces any form of mental health issues, you must seek the help of a children’s mental health professional. Children cannot easily perceive their difficulties or express them.
India still has a long way to go in developing proper child mental health care services.
However, child mental health care starts in each household that has a child.
Hence, as parents, we must give extra attention to our children’s mental health along with physical well-being as they are growing up in a highly populated, diverse, and multi-cultured society such as ours.
At what age do most kids get depressed?
Depression can occur in children of any age. It depends on the environment that they live in, their social life, changes in lifestyle or places, and many more factors. However, children in their adolescent and early youth stages often struggle with depression and find it difficult to accomplish daily tasks.
This means that you should make sure that your child is not pressurized due to academic activities or living environment. If you feel that your child is struggling with depression or any other form of mental illness, you should soon take your child to a child mental health specialist.
You should diagnose the underlying cause and help them maintain more balance and motivation in their life, thereby building a stronger foundation for their future life.
What are the main causes of mental health issues in youth?
In a country like ours, various factors have to be taken into account while trying to understand child mental health issues. We should analyze the factors that could cause stress and emotional trouble for young minds.
Some of the commonly found risk factors for child mental health disorders include:
- Lack of discipline
- Mental health issues in parents
- Child abuse
- Getting exposed to violence
- Family conflict
- Academic failure
Apart from these risk factors, many more important aspects come into play when it comes to children’s mental health in India.
Many parents fail to establish a strong bond with their kids since they believe there needs to be space between them and their children.
If you are caught up in other matters such as your profession or carrying out household tasks, you may fail to notice what your children go through daily.
Hence, we must enquire about the well-being of our kids now and then and make sure they are not exposed to harmful or violent situations in real life and media.
What are the signs of mental health issues in children?
If your child’s daily activities are often hindered and if their issues are severe and lasting, you should pay extra attention to them and seek professional help.
These are some of the signs that point to mental health issues in children:
- Aggressive behavior
- Struggling to perform well in academics
- Missing or avoiding school
- Interruptions in sleep patterns and frequent nightmares
- Frequent complaints about physical issues such as stomach aches or headache
- Persistent sadness
- Weight loss
- Excessive anxiety or panic
- Lack of interest in social interaction or friendship
- Extreme changes in personality, behavior, or mood
You must not conclude or assume that your child’s mental health and well-being are good by yourselves. Rather, you must observe and openly communicate with them. And if you do feel that your child is facing some of these issues, you must seek help from a mental health professional.
How do I know if my child’s problems are serious?
During developmental changes, children get influenced by the people and the things that they see and experience around them. Hence, we should help our children understand what they go through and their own emotions.
More importantly, we should try our best to avoid children getting into troubling situations. This involves keeping an eye on their activities inside the house, outdoors, and in the virtual world.
Where can I get help for children’s mental health in India?
The best thing you can do to ensure the mental well-being of your child is by getting professional help from certified mental health experts.
Otherwise, you can contact the Childline India Foundation if your child is in distress or trouble.
Children may have the inhibitions to talk openly about what they go through. This is why you should approach trained children’s psychologists. They can talk to children and help them understand better what they are going through.
With ample time and healthy practices, your children can recover and enjoy their childhood as well as work for a better future for themselves.