Did you know that one in six children is suffering from mental illness? In fact, around 7.7 million children are diagnosed with at least one treatable mental disorder. Woah! The number is really high if you think about it.
Childhood is all about development. It’s the time when your child’s body and the brain start taking shape. But you should also know that it is a crucial time for your kid’s sound mental health.
According to child psychologists, disruption in children’s mental health might impair their learning capabilities and their day to day activities. In fact, toxic stress is one of the significant reasons mental illness takes root in your children’s brains. It damages the brain architecture and gives birth to several behavioral problems.
But before we dive into what mental illness is and how you can deal with it, there’s something you need to shift your focus to. Even if your children get diagnosed with a certain mental disorder, you should know that there is nothing defective or abnormal about them. Also, there is nothing to panic about. All you have to do is be sensitive about it and tackle things the right way. Otherwise, you might end up making things worse for you and your kids.
That being said, read on to know more about mental illness in children and find out the right ways to deal with it.
- What are the common mental illness types?
Before you start worrying and questioning about your children’s mental illness, it’s better to do your homework. You need to learn about some common mental disorders your children might be having a hard time dealing with. Some of them are listed below.
- ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Children with ADHD have above-normal levels of impulsive and hyperactive behaviors. In fact, an ADHD Coach confirms that kids with this mental disorder often feel difficult to complete whatever they start and daydream abnormally. They may also have trouble focusing in class or standing still for long periods of time.
- Disruptive Behavior Disorders: Children with disruptive behavior disorder tend to defy rules and argue over random things. Children dealing with such a mental disorder find it tough to cooperate with teachers, peers, and family members.
- Schizophrenia: This is one of the most dangerous and common mental disorders often found in kids. In simple words, Schizophrenia is a long-lasting problem that affects brain development. Children dealing with this disorder have strange ideas, feelings, and thoughts. Not only this, but they also have distorted perceptions about stuff.
- Anxiety disorders: Children with anxiety issues and disorders tend to react abnormally to certain things or situations. Anxiety issues often take root in the brain due to a bad or traumatic past experience. Such kids feel sad, hopeless, lost, worried, and afraid from time to time. They may even have repeated episodes of panic attacks in which they would start feeling shaky, sweating, or highly nervous.
- What can you do about it?
Although medical science has touched the moon, still treating mental illness from roots is challenging. Experts are still figuring out the best treatments to cure mental illness in kids. But there’s one thing that needs to be kept in mind while dealing with mental disorders. Just like physical illness, mental disorders also need proper attention and ongoing medical treatment. That’s the only thing that will help in keeping the symptoms at bay and prevent frequent panic attacks.
For now, here are some tried and tested treatments that can help you deal with mental disorders in your children. Take notes as they are going to help you in the long run.
- Observe and then react: First things first, do not barge into your children’s room out of the blue and start asking questions about what they are feeling. Try to observe things before giving a reaction. There’s a good chance that your panicking reaction might make matters worse. So, watch out for your children’s symptoms of mental illness and then casually try to talk to them about whatever is bothering them.
- Figure out the reasons: You should know that it’s not only stress that causes mental illness. Yes, it is one of the major reasons, but it is not the only one. For instance, your children might be having mental issues due to psychological trauma such as losing a loved one or sexual abuse. Or it could be a hereditary problem. There’s a good chance that if someone in your family has a history of mental disorders, then your children might have it too.
- Communication is the key: Half of the mental issues can be resolved once people start talking about stuff. Children with mental disorders often feel that no one would understand them even if they convey their feelings. And that’s something you should change as soon as possible. Start becoming a confidante for your little ones. Make them feel that it is safe to talk about stuff that’s bothering them. Sometimes all your children want is someone who’s available to listen to what they have to say.
If you are not able to talk to your children about their feelings, then there’s nothing to worry about. It’s not a dead end. There are experienced professionals out there who can talk to your kids and figure out what’s bothering them. Opting for professional psychotherapy helps in addressing the untalked issues and providing solutions for them. There are multiple types of psychotherapies that have been proven effective for kids. Some of them are supportive, interpersonal, group and family.
- Opt for creative therapies: Undoubtedly, art is the best form of expression. And you can use it to help your children communicate their feelings and thoughts. For instance, you can ask your children to paint the first things that come to their minds. Or, if you want your kids to start focusing on stuff, try playing games like Jenga or ask them to build something from scratch. This type of therapy can be beneficial for kids with ADHD, anxiety issues, and disrupting behaviors.
As parents, you’d always want the best for your kids. And nothing could possibly affect you more than seeing them in pain mentally or physically. So, it’s high time you start prioritizing their children’s mental health and do everything in your power to strengthen it.
One in six children is suffering from mental illness. Around 7.7 million children are diagnosed with at least one mental disorde