Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: After failing his exam, 14-year-old Ayush (name changed) suddenly stopped being himself and started avoiding his parents and other family members. Dealing with failure is not easy for anyone, but for teenage Ayush it was kind of the end of life. With each passing day, his personality disorder only got worse. But one day he found the courage to meet Dr. Shukla, a renowned psychologist who lived in the neighborhood and who changed his life. Not all children can cope with this. Many of them hide their mental health issues under the rug, fearing adverse reactions from their parents or teachers or not having enough vocabulary to explain what is happening to them. (Also read: Foods to improve your child’s mental health during a pandemic)
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is celebrated annually on May 7 to raise awareness of the importance of children’s mental health.
Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, in an interview with HT Digital, said nearly 10% of all children and adolescents, according to the WHO, suffer from a health condition mental, but the majority of them do not reach out to help or receive it. He says these struggles with mental health in the early years impact the psychosocial development of children, with effects on their studies, relationships, self-esteem and lifestyle, and the difficulties can often spread. also in adulthood.
Dr Parikh explains that there are many reasons why children may not discuss their mental health issues with others, including fear of being misunderstood, judged or made fun of. Dr Parikh says children may also lack the awareness or emotional vocabulary to be able to fully express what they are experiencing. He says that many times academic difficulties, conflicts with authority or even physical health issues can have an underlying mental health basis, which often goes undiagnosed and untreated.
Sometimes in families, children do not have an environment where they feel free to express themselves, so they may seek information online or support anonymously.
“As adults, it is important that we create an environment of openness and understanding with children. It is essential to create a safe space where children are free to express themselves. Art and play can also be useful tools for children to express themselves in a less threatening way,” says Dr. Parikh.
Dr. Samir Parikh says that instead of just focusing on a child’s performance, it’s imperative to pay close attention to their emotional well-being as well.
“Encouraging social and emotional development through teaching life skills is the need of the hour. At the same time, mental health literacy needs to be introduced into classrooms from an early age. reduce stigma and fear of judgement, we need to be aware of the vocabulary we use Children need to be taught to understand mental health in the same way as physical health Above all, we need to instill an openness to seeking help, where asking for help is considered a sign of strength,” says the famous psychiatrist.