When we talk about kids’ health and well being, the focus is mostly upon physical health and growth. But, we miss discussing a very crucial aspect which is mental health. There is a widespread belief that young children do not experience mental health issues, but that is totally a myth. As per the data by WHO, around 10% of kids and adolescents worldwide suffer from mental health issues but are not provided with the relevant care needed.
It is very important to address these mental health issues in childhood as it can serve as a precursor to many serious mental health issues later in life. In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of suicides among kids and adolescents. As per data by UNICEF, about 1 in 7 adolescents, which means around 166 million adolescents globally, suffer from mental health issues.
This includes 77 million girls and 89 million boys. Many times, parents, teachers, paediatricians, and other adults tend to miss out on the early signs of mental health issues in a child. Also, some do notice but do not seek proper help for their children due to the stigma associated with mental health.
Here are some signs to look out for in order to identify initial signs of mental health issues in kids.
- If your child or some other child around you shows signs of drastic mood swings over a period of time, you can consider it as an initial sign of mental illness.
Note – Do not confuse it with normal mood swings that a kid undergoes. If the mood swing is persistent for several days at a time then one must consider taking the help of a therapist for proper diagnosis.
- If the grades of a child who used to score high grades suddenly start deteriorating, it can be a sign of some kind of stress which needs to be addressed soon.
- If a child stops enjoying the activities or things he used to love before, you can consider it as the starting sign of depression.
- If a child shows signs of severe violent behaviour which can hurt them or others around them, you must seek the help of a therapist as soon as possible so as to avoid any untoward incident.
- If a child shows excessive signs of worry or fear due to no specific reason which also involves some physical symptoms such as sweating and racing heartbeat frequently, it can be an initial sign of anxiety disorder and must be addressed with the help of a therapist so as to avoid the aggravation of the condition.
- If a child gets irritated very easily or cries a lot and speaks about ending life or how bad the world is, it may be the warning signs of suicidal ideation.
These are some general behaviors you can observe but there can be many more behaviors that are specific to a particular child. If you find any deviations in the regular behavior of a child over a long period of time, get help from a qualified professional as soon as possible.
Let’s all take a pledge to raise our future generations as mentally healthy individuals. A healthy mind & body can shape an individual in the most accurate way.
Author: Richa Bhatnagar
- WHO Data –
- UNICEF Data –