Children’s Mental Health: A Hidden Problem
Today’s youth are under pressure — now more than ever — in schools, in our communities, and online. Yet, children’s mental health is often the most ignored. That’s why we want to raise awareness to the issue. As we discussed in a previous blog, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. That’s why we’ve decided to focus in today on raising awareness to the issues that children often face and struggle with. Sadly, if mental health often goes undiagnosed or ignored with adults, children are even more likely to struggle and suffer with issues that get dismissed or go completely unnoticed. That’s why our goal with this particular blog is to provide some guidance on ways you might be able to spot if your child or children you’re close to are having troubles.
Dealing with the “My Child Is Perfect” problem.
It is easy to want to believe that your child is just going through a tough time, or that something they’re struggling with might be a ‘phase’. As a result, mental health issues with children go unnoticed. That’s why it’s so important to acknowledge that they may be dealing with a mental health issue right away. The sooner an issue is detected, the quicker they can get the help that they need. No one is immune from depression, anxiety, and addictions. This hidden mental health crisis is only exacerbated when parents aren’t attentive or willing to admit their children may be suffering.
How can I help my child through anxiety, mood disorders, or depression?
Children can feel anxious about different things at different ages. Many of these worries are a normal part of growing up. From the age of around 6 months to 3 years it’s common for children to have separation anxiety. This is a normal stage in a child’s development. For teens, it is easy to ignore or assume puberty has caused a change in mood. As teens form their circle of friends, inner group struggles present themselves. Groupthink may lead to poor decision making, feelings of inadequacy, or pressure to conform to values your teen or child don’t hold. This can further lead to anxiety and depression.
First and foremost, it’s important to talk to your children about their anxiety. Reassure them and show them you understand how they feel. It may help to explain what anxiety is and the physical effects it has on our bodies. It’s also important to help them find solutions. If your child is worried about going to a party, it’s better to recognize their anxiety and suggest solutions to help them so they can go to the party with a plan in place rather than to let them avoid the situation altogether.
What are other ways to ease anxiety in children?
One way to ease anxiety is to teach them to recognize the feelings of anxiety themselves, so they can attempt to calm their nerves. If your child is anxious because of distressing events, such as a divorce or death in the family, look for books or films that will help them to understand their feelings. You can also teach them to practice simple relaxation techniques, such as taking three slow deep belly breaths, breathing in for a count of 5 and out for 5.
No matter what the issue is, if your child continues to struggle with severe anxiety or depression, it’s important to get them the help they need. If your child’s mental health is affecting their school life, it’s also a good idea to talk to their school. Depression amongst youth has climbed in recent years, as has anxiety. Between virtual school and online education, struggles during the pandemic and even an inability to socialize, children are some of the most vulnerable and affected in our society. If you are concerned about your child or teen and their mental health state, our trained counselors are here to help provide guidance and assistance today. We know how difficult things have been, and we’re here to assist in dealing with the daily struggles and counseling you and your child toward a better path forward.