What is mental health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood (cdc.gov, 2018)
Mental health…is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going. – Noam Shpancer, PhD
Why is mental health important for children?
Being mentally healthy during childhood means reaching developmental and emotional milestones and learning healthy social skills and how to cope when there are problems. Mentally healthy children have a positive quality of life and can function well at home, in school, and in their communities.
How can I support my children to help their mental health?
The National Health Service (NHS) provides a highly useful guide on Children’s Mental Health including some top tips to support children and young people. These are:
Be there to listen
Support them through difficulties
Stay involved in their lives
Encourage their interests
Take what they say seriously
Build positive routines
Around 1 in 8 children and young people experience behavioural or emotional problems growing up. - NHS
What signs should I look out for?
significant changes in behaviour
ongoing difficulty sleeping
withdrawing from social situations
not wanting to do things they usually like
self-harm or neglecting themselves
However, please remember that everyone feels angry and low at times. Feeling angry, or low, or anxious is perfectly normal at times! But, if these emotions last for a long time, or are impacting your life and others then please seek professional help.
Please check out the NHS website to learn more about mental health, and its impact on children, by clicking here.