Mental Health in Children: Introduction and Early Warning Signs
It is only in the last few years, the topic of mental health gained significant importance. However, when it comes to children’s mental health, the topic is ever developing and dynamic. Yet, the latest studies show that children, as young as one can also suffer from some form of mental illness and that the development of both, physical and mental health, contributes to overall growth.
The manifestation of mental health like anxiety, depression, or attention deficit disorders in children is different from that in adults. But, when it is caught in time, child psychologists believe it can be treated before it becomes a lifelong battle for the child.
In this article, we look at some introduction topics to children and mental health, and early warning signs.
Early Warning Signs of Mental Health Issues in Children
Children cannot always communicate what they are feeling. Especially when it comes to mental health issues, the child can be confused and frustrated as they are not aware of what is happening to them and why. Hence, by watching out for some of these early warning signs, it can aid in finding the underlying cause and address it right in time.
It is also essential to remember that common behavioral challenges can look like mental health problems but the key is to identify when to seek help. In this regard, watch out for these signs in your children:
- Struggling to sleep, stay asleep, or fall asleep. On the flip side, it can also be they oversleep and also experience frequent nightmares.
- Gets easily irritated or is always irritable.
- Frequent body pains (headache, stomach pain, shoulder pain) without a physical injury or cause.
- Restless all the time. They need to keep moving and can’t sit still.
- Struggling with academics, unable to concentrate for long periods, or gets easily distracted.
- Unable to develop social skills and difficulty in making friends.
- Always fearing something bad might/will happen.
- Unable to eat or overeating in stress and anxiety.
- In older children, also look for unexplainable weight loss or weight gain.
Basic Tips for Coping as a Parent
Now that you have been able to identify one of these warning signs in your child, you might be thinking what next. As parents, it is absolutely essential to acknowledge that your child’s recovery might not be easy or fast. Specifically, do not panic in front of them. They need you to stay patient and honest (depending on their age). Most of all, they need to know you are creating a safe space for them to understand themselves, and to break away from mental health issues, so they can thrive as they grow. The best thing you can do is to read and get as much knowledge you can on the topic so you can help your child as they grow.
While it is hard to cover all aspects of mental illness in children in one article, we aim to put out a few more articles on these topics. Stay tuned for more if you are interested in knowing about:
- Different types of mental health issues in children;
- When to seek medical help;
- Different treatments;