Over stressed children
Mental health issues are consistently increasing with an alarming sign. There is increase in the number of people suffering from different mental disorders, which are quite alarming. More services should be provided to meet the treatment and that too to a large extent. It is the need of the hour to enhance the mental health services in Kashmir so that it can reduce disability, the risk of several mental illnesses.
While interacting with Kashmir based expert clinical psychologist Waseem Rashid Kakroo, few important questions were raised regarding increasing mental health problems among children in Kashmir.
What is a mental illness?
Mental health is the overall wellness of how you think, regulate your feelings and behave. A mental illness, or mental health disorder, is defined as patterns or changes in thinking, feeling or behaving that cause distress or disrupt a person’s ability to function.
How do we know if our child’s problems are serious?
Mental illness in children can be hard for parents to identify. As a result, many children who could benefit from treatment don’t get the help they need. Mental health disorders in children are generally defined as delays or disruptions in developing age-appropriate thinking, behaviors, social skills or regulation of emotions. These problems are distressing to children and disrupt their ability to function well at home, in school or in other social situations. Some signs are there:
• Excessive fears and worries
• Extreme hyperactivity
• Sudden decrease in school performance
• Loss of interest in friends or favourite activities
• Loss of appetite
• Sudden changes in weight
• Excessive worry about weight gain
• Sudden changes in sleep habits
• Visible prolonged sadness etc.
Childhood and adolescence are critical stages of life for mental health. This is a time when rapid growth and development take place in the brain. Children and adolescents acquire cognitive and social-emotional skills that shape their future mental health and are important for assuming adult roles in society.
The quality of the environment where children and adolescents grow up shapes their well-being and development. Early negative experiences in homes, schools, such as exposure to violence, the mental illness of a parent or other caregiver, poverty, increase the risk of mental illness.
Therefore, consequences of not addressing mental health and psychosocial development for children and adolescents extend to adulthood and limit opportunities for leading fulfilling lives. We see Parents in Kashmir who are worried about the mental health problems of their children. Accordingly they are most susceptible to anxiety and stress. As a result, despair, unhappiness, and helplessness levels have increased manifold.Death, violence, and suffering are also the factors behind mental health problems.
Which mental health issues are actually seen in children?
Covid 19 affected everyone across the world. Also there has been no proper schooling for the last few years and little physical activities for children in Kashmir. They have become addicted to smart phones or social media.
Parents should keep their children away from these things except when there is a need, like in online classes. Children are suffering from mental health issues in the form of increase or decrease in appetite, sleep, shifting of moods, losing of interest are all indications of stress. Mental illness in children can be difficult at times for parents to identify. As a result, many children who could benefit from treatment don’t get the help they need.
Mental health disorders in children are generally defined as delays or disruptions in developing age-appropriate thinking, behaviors, social skills or regulation of emotions. These problems are distressing to children and disrupt their ability to function well at home, in school or in other social situations.
The signs of mental illness in children vary by age and type of illness, with some psychiatric disorders appearing even in preschool years. The risk of children developing mental ill-health increases significantly when they have lived with someone who also has a common mental health disorder, research has found.
Are some children more likely to experience mental health problems?
Talking of covid 19 in particular, so many children will have had difficulties caused by isolation, and lots of other factors too. Children who have missed out on school and other important experiences will be among those who have found it most difficult.”
Access to good health care and opportunities to address mental health needs can only be a good thing. Mental health is the way children think and feel about themselves and the world around them. It affects how children cope with life’s challenges and stresses.
Good mental health is an important part of healthy child development. It helps children build positive social, emotional, behaviour, thinking and communication skills. It also lays the foundation for better mental health and wellbeing later in life.
Children experience all sorts of emotions as part of growing up – fear, disappointment, sadness, anxiety, anger, joy, hope and so on. When children cope with big emotions or calm themselves down in difficult or emotional situations, they’re likely to feel good about themselves.
How important is emotional well-being of children?
Talk about emotions with your child, and encourage them to recognise and label their emotions. You can also let your child know that it’s natural to have all sorts of feelings.
Support your child when something is bothering them. For e.g, if your child is having trouble with friends at school, you could give your child plenty of hugs and reassure them that you’re there for them.
And you could work with the teacher on a plan to handle the situation. Help your child learn to manage small worries so they don’t become big problems. You can do this by gently encouraging your child to do things they’re anxious about instead of avoiding scary situations.