How to improve your child’s mental health care

By | September 25, 2017 | Health & Wellness

How to improve your child’s mental health care
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As a parent, your child’s wellbeing is your number one priority. Perhaps the most agonizing period in a parent’s life is when their child is sick. Unlike previous years, children today are susceptible to a myriad of mental health disorders. Unfortunately, mental health conditions in children are fairly difficult to detect. With proliferation of information regarding mental care, parents are often left with more questions than answers.

Common mental health disorders in children

Anxiety disorders

Some children begin to show signs of being abnormally or overly anxious as they grow older. Most parents take it to be a behavioural stage or phase and may miss critical signs. However, when a child tends to be overly anxious, it is advisable for the parents to talk to their children or even seek professional help. Children with anxiety disorders will tend to react with extreme fear or nervousness to certain situations. The disorder may even cause them to have physical symptoms such as sweating and increased heartbeat. The condition often affects their ability to function properly or become productive in school.

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a fairly common disorder among many young children. While the condition can affect both adult and children, it is said to begin in childhood. Symptoms associated with ADHD include hyperactivity, difficulty paying attention, getting bored easily, inattentiveness and poor impulsive control. Some children ADHD may exhibit multiple symptoms while others may have only one.

Eating disorders

When children reach teenage years, they often become conscious about their body image. This is common especially among teenage girls who attempt to emulate unrealistic images portrayed by media and television personalities. Children with eating disorders are usually obsessed with their weight that it affects their daily lives. Eating disorders include bulimia, anorexia and binge eating. If left untreated, the eating disorder can lead to serious life-threatening conditions or even become fatal.

Mood disorders

Childhood and teenage years is often associated with mood swings. However, when the mood swings become extreme and destructive, it is vital to consider professional help for your child. Unlike normal mood swings, mood disorders consist of rapidly changing emotions from sadness to happiness. Also, prolonged feelings of sadness. Common mood disorders are bipolar and depression. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is a more recent diagnosis associated with mood disorders. The condition is common among adolescents and consists of angry outbursts and frequent irritability.

Schizophrenia

This is a mental condition that makes one lose touch with reality as well as have distorted thoughts and perception about life. The condition begins as mild schizophrenia and if untreated goes on to become full blown schizophrenia.

How to overcome mental health conditions

Practical skills for parents

A diagnosis of mental disorder in a child can be devastating to any parent. The situation is made worse if one has no clue how to treat or properly care for their child. Experts in South London have introduced a program that teaches and of equips parents with practical skills to properly care for their children. The program teaches parents how to communicate with their children as well as understand their different mood temperaments. Parents can take the initiative to learn more about their child’s condition and find different ways to connect with them.

Practical skills for teachers

Children begin to manifest mental issues during their childhood and adolescent years. Most kids spend a sizable portion of their time in school. For this reason, it is important to equip the children and teachers with mental health resources early in their education. Teachers play an important part of a child’s life. Therefore, teachers should incorporate classroom lessons and tools that will help mitigate mental disorders in children. Teacher can include lessons that focus on the children’s mental health. For instance, they can introduce fun games that will improve the children’s communication skills as well as impulse control.

Food as medicine

A common consensus among many medical experts is the benefit of proper nutrition in treating mental health disorders. For instance, orthomolecular therapy has effectively been used to treat patients suffering from various health conditions. The therapy is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on nutrition as a proper form of restoring health. The foundation of orthomolecular therapy is the total elimination of junk and processed foods and replacing it with fruits and vitamins. Children suffering from various mental disorders can benefit from the therapy by altering their dietary habits to include more nutritious meals.

Exercise for health

Regular exercising has both physical and mental benefits. Physical exercise induces essential chemicals such as serotonin and endorphin which are vital for the brain function. Additionally, exercise increases blood flow to the brain which in turn gives someone clarity and rejuvenation. Most symptoms of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety can be reduced with regular physical exercise. Children should be encouraged to participate in outdoor activities that will give them sufficient exercise.

Children mental health care organizations

With the rising need of mental health care for children, many non-governmental organizations have taken the initiative to address the problem through professional intervention. For instance, the US based organization Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. In the UK, YoungMinds is committed to catering to children’s mental health as well as their emotional well-being. The organization is dedicated to improving the mental and emotional health of children through expert advice and professional counselling.

Active Minds is another non-profit organization whose sole objective is to educate young people about mental health. Headquartered in Washington DC, the organization encourages students and young people to openly speak about mental health issues as well as seek professional help. Active Minds attempts to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues by issuing students with resources to educate them on mental conditions.

Mental health disorders are undoubtedly becoming a genuine problem among children and teenagers. As such it is important for parents to seek appropriate mental health care for their children. Since children may have poor coping mechanisms, it is the duty of the parents to detect unusual behavior or symptoms that may lead to mental health conditions. Most importantly, parents should not hesitate to seek treatment as soon as they suspect that their children are mentally unwell.

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Mike Jones

Mike Jones has put his degree in Mass Communications to good use by writing about mental health. He works toward busting the myths surrounding this topic. Mike believes that learning about the signs and symptoms of mental health will help people facing a mental illness and their loved ones. Knowledge is power! His main focus is schizophrenia. He hopes that his website, SchizLife.com, will become a go-to resource for anyone interested in the subject.

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