Children & Adolescent’s
Children & Adolescent’s Mental Health is an essential part of children’s overall health. It has an interactive relationship with their physical health, according to emotional, cognitive, social, and their biologic development.
Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.
Alarmingly, however, 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.
Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:
- being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
- having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
- being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
- going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils
- taking part in local activities for young people.
Other factors are also important, including:
- feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
- being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
- being hopeful and optimistic
- being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
- accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at
- having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
- feeling they have some control over their own life
- having the strength to cope when something is wrong (resilience) and the ability to solve problems.
Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago. That’s probably because of changes in the way we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up.
Dealing with change
Mostly things that happen to children don’t lead to mental health problems on their own, but traumatic events can trigger problems for children and young people who are already vulnerable.
Changes often act as triggers: moving home or school or the birth of a new brother or sister, for example. Some children who start school feel excited about making new friends and doing new activities, but there may also be some who feel anxious about entering a new environment.
Teenagers often experience emotional turmoil as their minds and bodies develop. An important part of growing up is working out and accepting who you are. Some young people find it hard to make this transition to adulthood and may experiment with alcohol, drugs or other substances that can affect mental health.
There are certain risk factors that make some children and young people more likely to experience problems than other children, but they don’t necessarily mean difficulties are bound to come up or are even probable.
Some of these factors include:
- having a long-term physical illness
- having a parent who has had mental health problems, problems with alcohol or has been in trouble with the law
- experiencing the death of someone close to them
- having parents who separate or divorce
- having been severely bullied or physically or sexually abused
- living in poverty or being homeless
- experiencing discrimination, perhaps because of their race, sexuality or religion
- acting as a carer for a relative, taking on adult responsibilities
- having long-standing educational difficulties
CHILD AND TEEN MENTAL HEALTH RISK FACTORS
Each phase of development brings specific challenges for children. They tend to work through these as normal a part of growing up. Mental health conditions can make these challenges harder. They may come up due to events in a child’s life. These could have been traumatic events, such as being bullied. They can also be routine, like moving to a new home.
Every child responds differently to life changes. Some events that may impact a child or teen’s mental health include:
- The birth of a sibling
- The death of a loved one, such as a family member or a pet
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Poverty or homelessness
- Natural disaster
- Moving to a new place or attending a new school
- Being bullied
- Taking on more responsibility than is age-appropriate
- Parental divorce or separation.
Age and gender can influence a child or teen’s resilence to life changes. For example, younger children often have an easier time adjusting to divorce than older children. Genetics also play a role. Some mental health issues, like bipolar, can run in families.
CHILDREN AND TEEN MENTAL HEALTH STATISTICS
Almost 4 million children and teens may experience mental health issues. These can cause difficulties at home, school, or with friends. One study estimates the rates for some conditions in children and teens:
- ADHD: 6.8%
- Behavioral conditions: 3.5%
- Anxiety: 3%
- Depression: 2%
- Autism: 1.1%
- Tourette syndrome: 0.2%
These issues are only a portion of those children and teens experience. The statistics do not include all conditions they may experience.
A 2009 study found only half of children and teens with anxiety, disordered eating, depression, and ADHD received care. The study also found fewer African Americans and Mexican Americans were likely to seek help. This could mean there are gaps in access to treatment for minority teens.
TEENS AND RELATIONSHIPS
When children reach adolescence, relationships can cause strife. Platonic and romantic relationships may cause this stress. Relationships between parents and children are crucial to healthy development. But they may become strained by the changes that come with adolescence. For example, teenagers may worry about romantic relationships. Some teenagers become overly stressed by worrying about relationships. This may lead to mental health issues or a lower quality of life.
A poll reports 35% of teens have some experience with dating or relationships. Another study reports that a third of teens in relationships will experience abuse from their partner. Intimacy and relationship abuse can increase risk of mental health issues, self-harm as common emotion.
FOOD AND EATING ISSUES IN CHILDREN AND TEENS
Social pressures and stress can cause disordered eating in teens. One study suggests these affects almost 10% of young women in the United States. Anorexia and bulimia are two common forms of this condition. In the past it was believed that disordered eating occurred mostly in young women. But it is now known that disordered eating behaviors and related concerns occur in people of all genders.
Disordered eating can harm physical health and self-esteem. It can lead to malnutrition, self-harm, heart disease, suicide, or starvation. Stay aware of your teen’s eating habits. Be mindful of how you talk about food, nutrition, and weight gain or loss around them. Promote a healthy and positive mind-body relationship. If your teen shows patterns of disordered eating, approach the issue with care. Work with them to find any help they need.
Compassionate Health Care at Life Works follows a unique healthcare approach whereby mental health is addressed effectively in a mindfulness approach.
Over the last decade, our team at LifeWorks, have been working diligently to enhance the mental and emotional well-being of children and adolescents by providing services under girded on mindfulness, compassion and care. The uniqueness of our healthcare approach is that we believe in the importance of mental health impacting our Physical health and overall wellbeing.
LifeWorks is different from any clinic you may have visited in the past, so we welcome you to see our facility and experience COMPASSIONATE HEALTH CARE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY AT ALL TIMES. From reception to consultation sessions with our Doctors, our team will ensure that you enjoy timely assistance and gold-standard healthcare experience!