National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: Childhood experiences lay the foundation for sound mental health

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: Childhood experiences lay the foundation for sound mental health

Childhood mental disorders encompass mental and emotional illnesses and disorders that impact children and usually onset at a very young age. These include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavior disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, substance use disorders and the likes. It is important to diagnose and address a mental illness in a child since it affects the way he/she learns, behaves and handles his/her emotions and can have an impact even on one’s adult life.

This is the reason why the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) observes the National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day every year. Scheduled to be held on May 4, this year the event aims to disseminate knowledge about the significance of children’s mental health and how a positive mental health is vital for a child’s healthy all-around development.

The event further emphasizes the importance of assimilating primary health care and behavioral health for the treatment of mental health disorders and substance use disorders in children, youth and young adults. This year, Olympic champions Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt have agreed to serve as the Honorary Chairpersons of the event.

Early childhood experiences are foundation stones of good mental health

A child’s good mental health as an adult depends on his/her childhood experiences and relationships with parents, caregivers, teachers and peers. Living in an environment that’s stressful and full of adversities, such as domestic violence, makes the child vulnerable and he/she may develop a number of mental health issues.

In situations, when a child continues to live in such an environment, it causes a form of stress, known as toxic stress, which damages the child’s brain architecture as well as his/her physical and emotional health. Apart from this, it also acts as a hindrance to the child’s cognitive, emotional and social development and impairs the child’s ability to learn and relate to others. Such damage can lead to abnormal hormone levels affecting the child’s performance and adjustment at school and later academic achievements.

Recognizing mental health problems in kids

A child’s healthy development depends on the parents’ health, the environment they live in, and above all, his/her own mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of seven U.S. children aged between 2 and 8 years have a mental, behavioral or developmental disorder (MBDD).

Diagnosing a mental health disorder in a child is crucial, as these tend to disrupt his/her functioning at home, school as well as in social circles. Therefore, it is important for parents, family members as well as caregivers to be attentive towards their child and determine if he/she needs help.

A few common symptoms that can determine if a child needs professional help are:

  • Decline in school performance
  • Poor grades
  • Constant worry and stress
  • Anxiety
  • Repeated refusal to go to school or to take part in activities
  • Hyperactivity
  • Nightmares
  • Aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Depression, unhappiness or irritability

Seeking help

Providing the child with an environment full of love, compassion, trust and understanding can keep the risk of developing any form of mental disorder at bay.

In situations, when a child is diagnosed with a mental health condition, it is better to seek an expert’s advice and look for a comprehensive treatment plan that includes psychotherapy, medication amongst others, depending on the severity of the condition. Involving the child while taking decisions related to the treatment is also recommended.

If you or someone you know is dealing with any form of mental illness and is seeking help, Sovereign Health can assist. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 to know more about the best mental health facilities in Los Angeles. You can also chat online with one of our representatives to get more information about mental health treatment centers in Los Angeles and other parts of the United States.

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