“Get over it!” This phrase has been normalized to such an extent that a person suffering from mental illness often finds it unimportant to even talk about. It is unfortunate as our mental health greatly influences how we think, feel, and behave in daily life. Mental illness is an equal opportunity issue. It affects every individual irrespective of their gender, age or ethnic background. Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and conduct disorders are also identified in children and young people. The emotional well-being of a child is just as important as their physical health. Adults often side-step their child’s mental illness thinking it’s a ‘phase’ of growing up or or that it shall pass soon. Alarmingly, 70% of children and young people who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions.
There are certain factors due to which some children and young people experience depression, anxiety and/or other mental health problems, such as:
Having a parent who has had mental illness or problems with alcohol or trouble with the law.
Experiencing discrimination because of their race, sexuality or religion
Living in poverty or being homeless
Having been severely bullied or physically and sexually abused
Having long term physical illness
Acting as a care-taker for a relative or taking on adult responsibilities
Experiencing the death of someone close to them
Having parents who separate or divorce, etc.
There are many people working towards highlighting the mental health problems prevailing among children. However, the role of parents is crucial in resolving these issues. Parents should start having warm, open relationship with their children so they can freely tell them if they are troubled. They should listen to them and take them seriously. If your child is distressed for a long time don’t be scared to get professional help. Many schools have started including school counsellor and educational psychologists. These professionals greatly help children.
“For too long we have been embarrassed to admit when our children need emotional or psychiatric help, worried that the stigma associated with these problems would be detrimental to their futures” - Kate Middleton.
People with mental health problems say that the social stigma attached to it and the discrimination they experience can make their difficulties worse and make it harder to recover. We need to overcome this stigma and help not only children but every individual irrespective of their age, gender and ethnicity facing mental health problems.
Listed below are a few organizations that can help someone going through a difficult time:
PAPYRUS (prevention of young suicide)
Contact a family
Article written by - Sharvari Kharat