While discussing mental health aspects, childhood and adolescence are the critical stages for addressing different vulnerabilities of mental health. As rapid physical growth and development take place in the brain, children and adolescents acquire different skills like social, emotional, psychological etc., during this period. These skills shape their future mental health and are important for performing adult roles in society. So it is very important to have a healthy bond and conversation with our children so that we can help them in this process of their development.
First, let’s know the signs that will help understand that your child may be experiencing mental health issues.
Signs of Mental Health Issues in Children
It is really important to recognize the symptoms and signs that indicate your child needs emotional support or he or she has some trouble with their mental health.
Cautioning signs that your kid might have an emotional well-being issue include:
- Steady misery that endures fourteen days or more
- Pulling out from or keeping away from social communications
- Harming oneself or thinking about harming oneself
- Discussing demise or self-destruction
- Behaving beyond standards of decency
- Crazy way of behaving that can be destructive
- Exceptional changes in temperament, conduct or character
- Changes in dietary patterns
- Loses weight weight
- Trouble sleeping
- Incessant migraines or stomachaches
- Trouble concentrating
- Changes in scholastic execution
- Staying away from or missing school
It is very important to notice these little changes and provide our kids with an appropriate environment to support them. Here, we should not only be comforting but nourishing them. This will allow them to explore more adventures with more emotional and mental ability.
Creating a Safe and Supportive Environment
It is important to create a safe, supportive and open space for children to explore their abilities and inner skills. Providing a healthy comfort zone with no discrimination and bullying is essential to enhance their mental health. Here parents and teachers have the key role to ensure this healthy environment where a child can nurture his or her mental health is provided.
Choosing the Right Time and Place for the Conversations
It is really important to have the right time for the right conversation, the time we choose to have a conversation is equally important as the content of the talk.
It is always best to have a conversation when both parent and child are not at an emotionally peak time. Our mood can affect the tone of our voice and it affects the quality of our conversation. The situation chosen to have a conversation has equal importance as much as the content. A bad mood can make the conversation unhealthy, and a total waste of time but a good mood can make the conversation more healthy and productive and it even helps to increase or strengthen the bond between those people having that conversation. Sometimes some conversations help us to figure out the solutions for many of our problems. It allows us to evaluate the issues once again and motivates us to give it a try. Not only the parents but also the children have problems and difficult times in their lives. So it is important to consider the mood of both parents and children before having a healthy conversation.
Approaching the Conversation with Sensitivity and Empathy
Having a conversation is having quality time by respecting and valuing the other person, so it is really important to participate actively in a conversation with patience and curiosity. The capacity to actively listen and understand the perspective and feelings of another person in a conversation determines the quality of that conversation. So it is always important to listen to the other person with sensitivity and empathy. While listening to the other person, try to view things from their perspective, it helps to avoid judgment and make the conversation more sensible.
Using Age-Appropriate Language and Concepts
While having a conversation, it is always important to consider the language and wording of the conversation appropriate for making the conversation more productive and healthy. While having a conversation with children, parents should always take care of the content, wording, tone and the language of conversation. The child should be clear about what he or she is hearing and should understand the concept shared by the parent. For this purpose, parents can cite incidents, concepts or characters which are familiar to their children so they can understand the content of the conversation. This makes it easier for parents to communicate the content more effectively.
Active Listening and Validating Your Child’s Feelings
A healthy conversation should be 2-way communication with enough space for opening up and listening. In a conversation between parent and child, it is very important to pay attention towards the child and actively listen to them. While having a conversation with your child, parents should validate the child’s feelings, understand their situation, listen to their concerns and thereby boost their bond with the child.
Normalizing Mental Health and Reducing Stigma
Like physical health, mental health is also important in a healthy life. Without a healthy mindset, we can’t lead a healthy functioning life and gain happiness in life. So it is also necessary to reach out for professional help when we need mental health support. A mental health professional can help us in many ways according to our needs and they can help us to explore the positive face of our life. Do not hesitate to seek professional help when your child needs professional support.
Providing Information and Education
Explaining Mental Health in a Simple and Understandable Way
Mental health is an important factor for healthy social well-being. Mental health includes psychological, social and emotional well-being and it influences our thoughts, feelings and deeds. Our emotional instability can shatter our thoughts. Clumsy thoughts can badly affect power productivity hence elemental health gain influences the entire quality of our life.
HOW A PARENT CAN TALK TO THEIR CHILD ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH
The way we deal with the mental health of our children and how we talk about it with them validating their feelings is the key factor in establishing a healthy relationship with our children. We can say to them that their situation is quite understandable. Make them feel that their parents are always there for them. Thank them for sharing what’s going on in their life acknowledging their emotions. Also appreciate their efforts in doing things. These little affirmations can bring many changes in their lives.
Coping strategies and Emotional Regulation Techniques
There are many tricks and techniques to maintain our mental health and regulate our emotional fluctuations. Consistency in doing such things can gradually develop as a skill. Creating a space for ourselves and recognizing and understanding the emotions inside us can bring a very good change in our emotional stability.
Seeking Professional Help When Needed
When the problems in life block you from functioning effectively in day-to-day life, the best thing you can do is seek professional help. Professional help can bring many positive changes in life. It is noted that every year one in four people suffer from mental health problems. Seeking help when it is needed is very important because it not only helps an individual but also lights up happiness in all those who love the individual.
Identifying Warning Signs that Require Professional Help
Maybe not all problems need professional help but some problems need professional help. It is very important to identify the warning symptoms of those problems and seek professional help. The common symptoms may include withdrawal from social life, friends, and family, lack of ability to concentrate, significant tiredness, low energy, reduced sleep, excessive negative thinking, excessive fear and worries, extreme mood changes from highs to lows, unwanted guilt etc. A professional can currently identify those warning symptoms and help to get rid of them.
Locating Mental Health Services for Children
Finding an apt mental health service centre for those who are in need often seems like an immense challenge. Apart from the obstacles like stigma and shame, there are also other barriers to obtaining good professional help. It includes lack of trained as well as licensed professionals, difficulties in reaching out to those centres, etc.
Working Collaboratively with Mental Health Professionals
Collaborative work with a mental health professional can bring a drastic change in different aspects of your child’s life. It is important to note that along with professional help, children need special care and attention from the side of parents. They both can help the child in different ways by providing more exposure and opportunities (for the child to experience more social situations) and helping them to normalize their differences amidst their peers.