Mental health whilst growing

Children and young people’s minds are developing at an extremely fast rate. The challenges they face as they are developing into young adults will undoubtedly affect their emotions and their behaviour. Today’s society means that those challenges can lead to many difficulties as the child is growing up.

Good emotional and mental health is essential for us to lead a happy and fulfilled life – it doesn’t matter what age we are. We quite often mistakenly think that children don’t have worries but believe me, in my therapy clinics for children I see 20-30 children every week with anxiety related issues. They may not have money worries or relationship problems (yet!) but they DO struggle with many different worries, from as young as two or three years old!

We all know that growing up is tough for many of us – some of us have family problems to deal with, maybe mum and dad have divorced/separated, or perhaps a parent is an alcoholic or suffers with a mental illness themselves. Then there are the additional normal problems like making friends, keeping up with schoolwork – watching your body change and trying to stay cool – it’s tough for all children these days!

Why should we worry about our child’s mental health?

Well, apart from the fact that we love our children, and we want them to be in good health both physically and mentally, research has shown that children and young adults who have good mental health:

  • Develop and learn appropriately for their age group
  • Have good self esteem
  • Have the confidence to try things out, like new food, new sports, new hobbies and activities.
  • Develop great relationships with friends, peers and family members
  • Normally do better academically

Frightening statistics

Did you know that almost 80,000 children and youngsters suffer from clinical depression in the UK? Depression is one of the most common types of mental illness.

Three children in every classroom have a mental health condition that has been diagnosed.

25,000 young people are sent to A and E every year because they have self – harmed. Self – harming happens when a child when a child is stressed, anxious, depressed or traumatised.

So, what affects a child’s mental state?

Many children find it really hard to express or verbalise their true feelings or emotions, so we must watch out for signals from their behaviour that will alert us to a problem. The following things are just a few of what could be triggering some mental health issues:

  • Friendship problems
  • Family relationships
  • Pressures at school
  • Peer pressure
  • Too much time on electronics
  • Social media
  • Hormone changes

If a child is in a loving family, with supportive parents or carers, most children cope well with growing up – but there can be environmental issues or changes that can trigger difficulties:

  • Bullying
  • Learning difficulties
  • Bereavement
  • Divorce or separation
  • Housing problems
  • Parents with drug problems
  • Parents with alcohol dependency

Get Help early!

If your child is young – say, under 12 – watch out for the following:

  • Eating problems
  • Sleep issues
  • Temper tantrums
  • Aggression and anger
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Problems with friendships
  • Bullying
  • Bad behaviour
  • Refusing to go to school
  • Crying for no reason
  • Bedwetting
  • Stool holding

If your child is over 12:

  • Becoming very withdrawn
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep issues
  • Stops eating
  • Binge eats
  • Panic attacks
  • Problems focusing
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Drugs or alcohol use
  • Problems with friends
  • Bullying
  • Obsessive behaviour
  • Becoming depressed or sad
  • Self – harming
  • Stops taking care of self-hygiene

Where can I get help for my child if I think he has some mental health issues?

If you have tried all the normal things like talking to your child, making sure they are getting enough sleep and talking to his teacher to see if they have noticed anything, and nothing has changed, then the first thing to do is go to the GP who will usually refer the child to CAMHS. There may be a waiting list so if you don’t wish to wait, then a therapist specialising in children’s behaviour problems would be the best choice.

There are various therapies that can be used for children such as hypnotherapy/CBT/talking therapies/ etc.

Your child may only need a few sessions of therapy to get him back on track again, others may need a few more.

If you need any advice on your child’s mental health do contact me (no obligation whatsoever) at: www.focus-hypnotherapy.co.uk

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