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Mental health problems in children and young people

Importance of Mental Health Problems in Children and Young Adults

Mental health problems, such as conduct disorder, anxiety, and depression, have a prevalence of about 1 in every 10 individuals, and are strongly associated with events occurring in their lives. Mental health for children and young adults is just as crucial as the physical, for the former plays a substantial part in learning to deal with challenges of life and growing into a healthy person. There are many factors that aid in preserving a child’s psychological well-being that parents should provide including being part of a loving and supporting family that nurtures positive values, attending a school in which a child feels physically and mentally secure, eating healthy and being active, having enough time to engage in play, and having a circle of friends.

On the part of the child, it is essential that he/she is eager to learn and explore, feels secure, loved, and appreciated, understands that he/she might not be as good in some activities but may be better in others, and that the child is resilient and capable to solve problems. The majority of children grow up to be psychologically healthy adults, but research shows that mental health issues are on the rise among this particular population. That is, there are more individuals suffering from mental instability in this day and age than 30 years ago. In addition, a child’s life is filled with constant change, such as starting school or getting a brother or a sister. Some changes will have positive or neutral consequences while there will be events that could trigger problems a child is genetically or psychologically predisposed to develop.

When it comes to teenagers, their lives are filled with change as their bodies and minds start to transition from children’s to those of adult’s. It is critical that they learn proper ways to deal with novelty so that they do not turn to the destructive kinds of coping strategies such as alcohol or drug abuse.

Risk Factors

There are always risk factors that can contribute to the development of mental problems and they differ for every individual, but some of the more general ones include being chronically sick, living with a parent or a caregiver who suffers from mental health problems, substance abuse, and so on, having to deal with the death of someone close at an early age, divorce of parents, any kind of abuse, living in poor conditions, having to deal with being discriminated against for things like nationality, race, religion, and so on, having to take on more responsibility than is appropriate at a given age, and not doing well in school.

How Parents Can Help

As parents play the most important roles in the lives of children, their help is preserving the child’s mental health is crucial. A young troubled individual may only need a hug or a few words that will reassure him or her that the problem will be resolved quickly and effectively. However, if the parents see that the symptoms of depression or anxiety are more persistent, they are strongly encouraged to seek professional help.

Types of Mental Health Problems

Depression is a very common mental health problem in teenagers, a little less so in young children, but it has nevertheless been on the rise in the past few decades. Inflicting self-harm is another kind of disturbed behavior that in some young people relieves emotional pain. Such behavior usually includes burning or cutting oneself without wishing to take one’s life. Various forms of anxiety are also present in both younger and older children. Another obvious kind of psychological problem that can be present in the lives of children and teenagers is the post-traumatic stress disorder that can be triggered by witnessing or experiencing very disturbing incidents such as death, disasters, or any kind of severe abuse. Finally, various kinds of eating disorders as well as ADHD are also very prevalent among this population.

Professional Help

When it comes to diagnosing and treating a mental health issue with children and young adults, professionals usually focus on communication and understanding of the problem for all parties involved. For really young children all aspects of therapy are done through play, although in some cases a therapist might prescribe medications for both younger and older individuals.

Mental Health Problem in Children Are on the Rise

Evidence suggests that psychological issues in children are more prevalent now that they were 20 to 30 years ago. In Australia, for instance, 1 out of 7 individuals younger than 13 years is at risk of developing mental health problems, and out of half a million affected only about one quarter receives help. There are population groups in which children are at an even higher risk, and those include the Aboriginal People, children living with a disability, or children living in institutions.

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