Figure 1-1: Child Mental Health
Achieving developmental and emotional milestones, developing positive social skills, and handling problems are all aspects of having a mentally healthy childhood. Children with a healthy mental state perform better at home, school, and their communities and live longer.
Nearly 5 million children in the United States have some form of severe mental illness (one that significantly interferes with daily life), and every year, 20% of American children are diagnosed with a mental illness.
It can be challenging to detect mental health problems in children. It can be difficult to tell whether your child’s behaviors are normal or indicate a mental health problem. However, because they can impact a child’s behavior, capacity for learning, and emotional growth, it is crucial to recognize and treat mental health issues in children.
This article discusses some signs of children’s mental health issues and there are actions you can take if you believe your child has a mental illness.
Here are 10 signs of mental health problems in children:
Figure 1-2: Irritability
Your child is frequently irritable and fussy. They cry a lot and are easily startled. It might be challenging to calm them down when they begin crying. Several childhood and adolescent mental health conditions are linked to irritability. It is one of the specific signs of an oppositional defiant disorder, depression, and anxiety.
The primary symptoms of the disorder are chronic and severe irritability and temper tantrums.
2. Mood Swings
Figure 2-1: Mood Swings
Pay close attention if your child begins to experience extreme mood swings. Is there anything that causes mood swings? What about interpersonal conflict? Or does your child regularly go through mood swings for weeks or months?
Understanding the nature of mood swings can assist a clinician in determining whether they are caused by a mood disorder, trauma, or simply normal childhood growing pains.
3. Changes in behavior
Figure 2-2: Changes in behavior
Acting erratically and starting fights or disputes and wanting to hurt someone. These are drastic changes in behavior or personality. If you find this type of change in the conduct of the child, then you should take it seriously.
4. Gastrointestinal problems
Figure 3-1: Gastrointestinal Problem
Your child has difficulty eating or has digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, or constipation. Maybe these symptoms are for any other health condition, but if you can’t find any specific reason, you should immediately take the necessary steps and assist your child.
5. Aggressive behaviour
Another sign of mental health issues in children is repeated tantrums or consistently behaving defiantly or aggressively.
If your child struggles with mental health issues, your child expresses disobedience, frustration, or aggression by regularly hitting, kicking, biting, or throwing tantrums. Get your child help if you see them engaging in these behaviors as soon as possible.
6. Intense feelings
Be aware of feelings of overwhelming fear that occur for no apparent reason, sometimes accompanied by a racing heart or rapid breathing. Worries or fears that interfere with daily activities are possible additional indicators.
7. Decreased interest in activities
Everyday childhood activities may include creating art, playing with friends, building sandcastles, and spending time with trucks and dolls. Knee scrapes are to be expected, and reading skills should improve.
Nonetheless, these activities may be reduced in a child with mental illness. Conflict and distance between peers, spending more time alone, and a general disinterest in things they once enjoyed are all signs of a more profound struggle.
8. Lack of Concentration or Struggles with Memory
Figure 3-2: Lack of concentration
A lack of concentration or difficulty remembering things is another sign of mental health problems in children. If your child is dealing with mental health issues, they may struggle to concentrate or remember things.
It can lead to poor academic performance or other activities. You must talk to your child and get the assistance they require if you notice them having trouble focusing or remembering things.
9. Fight with Loved Ones
Picking fights is common in children who have mental health issues. Because of what they’re going through, they have no one to vent their newfound rage and emotions on except those closest to them.
As a result, some may perceive those children as defensive, troublemaking, and on the verge of a downward spiral. However, because of the emerging mental illness, it is often the case that they do not mean the hurtful words or actions occurring.
10. Difficulty sleeping or getting out of bed
Figure 4-1: Difficulty in sleeping and getting out of bed
Your child struggles to fall asleep, gets up frequently throughout the night, or has frightening nightmares. If you notice your child exhibiting these signs, you must talk to them and get them the help they need.
One sign of a mental health issue in children is difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. If your child is feeling anxious or depressed, it can be hard for them to find the motivation to get out of bed. They may also avoid school or other activities due to feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. It may signify a mental health issue if your child struggles to get out of bed in the morning.
How are children’s mental illnesses treated?
Treatment options for children suffering from mental illnesses include:
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or behaviour therapy, addresses mental health concerns through discussion with a psychologist or other mental health professional. Psychotherapy for young children may include playtime or games and discussing what occurs while playing.
Children and adolescents in psychotherapy learn how to express their thoughts and feelings, react to them, and adopt new behaviors and coping mechanisms. Or a medication may be recommended by your child’s health care provider or a mental health professional.
Finally, how you will play an essential role in your child’s treatment plan. To look after yourself and your child, do the following:
- Find out more about the illness.
- Consult a mental health professional about how to react to and deal with your child’s challenging behaviour.
- Enroll in parenting courses primarily geared toward parents of mentally ill kids.
- To help you react calmly, research stress management techniques.
- Try to find ways to relax and have fun with your child.
- Celebrate your child’s abilities and strengths.
- Collaborate with your child’s school to obtain the necessary assistance.
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