Yes, it’s been a little over a week since #WorldMentalHealthDay. The world came together, many voices were raised, many more heard. We stretched out helping hands and together promised to move ahead and embrace a brighter future.
But what is this bright future? At Digit, we believe it is the kids, the generation next who are the torchbearers of our future. Unfortunately, mental health among kids is a topic often ignored, even ridiculed. For us to grow as a society, it is important to accept problems, no matter how big or small, in every part of society.
So, what is the first step to understanding the different types of mental distress kids go through? Well, the answer is simpler than you’d think – Asking.
To understand it better, we first need to ask the right questions. If you see any changes in your kid’s behaviour, talk to them about it. If needed, get the right help.
What are some common conditions among kids?
- Anxiety: The child does not outgrow fears and is constantly worried about things like school, friends and so on. Often tend to show signs of separation anxiety with parents and develop phobias easily.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): It is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and continues into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behaviour. Children with ADHD may also struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships, and poor performance in school.
- Depression: Feeling sad, even hopeless at times is part of growing up for most children. However, when this persists, they may be diagnosed with depression. Kids going through depression might lose interest in things they used to love.
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): When kids act out constantly, be it at home, school or elsewhere, they may be diagnosed with ODD. You often see them losing their cool or constantly being angry.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A child with PTSD can frequently have scary thoughts about a past memory, finding it terrifying, physically or emotionally. The symptoms can start soon after the event or even later.
When should we seek help?
What can we do as parents?
Parents are the biggest support system for a child. If we notice any behavioural patterns that are concerning, talking to the kid’s teachers to get more clarity about the change, and consulting with the paediatrician to understand the next steps, even getting a mental health professional’s referral would be a great start.
What we need to remember:
A mental disorder doesn’t mean the child will be deprived of future happiness. However, it is not right to ignore it and assume they will grow out of the condition. These disorders often have biological reasons and do not necessarily mean bad parenting. Having said that, with the right help, kids can overcome most of these conditions – and that is parenting done right.