Mental health issues are estimated to affect around 1 in 10 children and young people, a rate that has been steadily on the rise. Many psychologists put this hike in rates of mental health issues among children down to the increasingly complex world into which they are born, as well as social lives that have become increasingly complex due to the advent of social media. Older generations who didn’t grow up with such technology often don’t know how to best approach educating their children on responsible and healthy use.
With as many as 70% of children suffering from mental health issues never being paired with the right treatment, it is easy to see how these problems could quickly snowball for individuals, families, and society at large. Fortunately, staying on top of your child’s mental health needn’t be difficult. By
following some simple guidance, you can identify and respond to any issues, or even prevent them from arising in the first place.
Good Physical Health = Good Mental Health
Our mental health is intimately linked to our physical health. One of the most common pieces of advice given to those suffering from depression and anxiety is to get regular exercise, as this can have a positive effect on a wide range of other mental health conditions too. Our brain maintains homeostasis (its ‘normal’ or default state) by carefully adjusting the levels of various neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline. In order to biosynthesize these compounds, our brains require access to the necessary building blocks, known as essential amino acids. These are amino acids that our body needs to function properly, but they can only be derived from external sources such as food. Therefore, a healthy diet is necessary for a healthy, functioning brain. Being physically ill can also have a negative impact on mood, particularly with long-term or debilitating illnesses, and these can easily lead to mental health issues if not addressed promptly.
Socializing is a crucial part of a child’s development and social interactions, in both children and adults, trigger a release of endorphins, which are our brain’s way of reinforcing positive experiences, encouraging us to repeat them. Socializing is important for the mental health of children and adults alike. Socializing increases a child’s sense of self-esteem and maintaining bonds and relationships in the long term is another important component of good mental health. It is a good idea to enroll your child in some extracurricular activities; anything will do, depending on their interests.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help
We now have a much better understanding of child psychology than we used to and consequently, we are able to identify and treat mental health issues in children much more quickly and effectively. If your child is uncomfortable with the idea of talking to someone on their own, you could consider seeing a family psychiatrist.
With rates of mental health issues among children on the rise, it is important that parents in today’s world remain vigilant and respond promptly to any problems and challenges that do arise.