Mental Health Awareness – What to look for in children and how to help….
Here at Harrogate Mumbler we want to help raise awareness about Mental Health particularly with your children. As a parent you can play a very important role in your child’s mental health. We believe that the emotional wellbeing of your child is just as important as the physical wellbeing. Worryingly, 70% of children and young people who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate involvements at a suitably early age.
The most common mental health factors that occur within children are:
* Depression – more common in Adults and Teens.
* Self-harm is very common among younger people. It can be used as a management of intense emotional pain.
* Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) causes younger people to become tremendously nervous. Very young children or children starting or moving school may have separation anxiety.
* Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can come from both physical & sexual assault at any age.
* ADHD – Children who are consistently hyper behave thoughtlessly and have difficulty paying attention. Many more boys than girls are affected.
* Eating disorders usually start in the teenage years and are more common in girls than boys. The number of young people who develop an eating disorder is small, but eating disorders can have serious consequences.
How can you help?
Encourage strong, caring relationships: It’s important for your child to have good relationships with family & friends. Try to make sure you spend quality time together every day. Let your child know that they can turn to you for help. As a significant person in their life you need to help them develop resilience. Create a safe positive home environment.
Help your child to deal with potential problems that could arise: Teach your children how to relax when they feel upset. This could be deep breathing, doing something restful or possibly alone if that’s how they deal with it best. Talk about possible solutions or ideas to improve a situation. Try not to take over.
Help children develop self-esteem & confidence in themselves: Show them love & praise when they do well, but don’t just praise them for what they achieve, notice their efforts too. Show an interest in what they do, listen to their feelings & help them set realistic goals.
Be aware of media use: Both the content and the amount of time spent. This includes all types of media from television, ipads to magazines. Be aware of who they may be interacting with online and what content is on them.
Be aware of what you discuss around your children: Although you may not think they are paying attention, children can sense problems and it can build up a lot of worry for them if they think there are issues at home.
Be a good role model: Take care of yourself. Talk about your feelings & make time to relax and do things that you enjoy.
Understand that you may not be the right person: Recognise that sometimes children just don’t want to speak to their parents, whether that’s because they don’t want to worry them or sometimes they think you are from another planet. Don’t take it personally. Encourage them to speak to someone whether it’s a teacher, family member or family friend. It’s better for them to speak to someone than nobody, even if it’s not you.
Tonight, if you can we want you to encourage your children to look at the positives in themselves and what makes them unique. Having a positive view of yourself allows you to cope with the challenges that could occur in life and recognising the qualities that other people hold can help us to connect with others and create friendships & bonds. Self-belief & friendships are vital parts of our wellbeing.
Mental Health Awareness is about being aware of what’s going on but also doing everything we can to prevent it. If you are worried about yourself or your children there is help out there for everyone.