Parents are often fussy about their child especially new parents. They often take their kids to the doctor when they have the fever or the flu but rarely do they wonder about their children’s state of mental health. The term mental health in itself is a vague one and most parents and carers have no idea what it encompasses and what the dangers are. Children’s mental health actually includes emotional and developmental milestones and developing positive social skills that children will need as they grow old and are crucial in solving the many problems life throws at them.
In order to become a normal, healthy, and sociable adult, parents should not ignore their child’s social health to help them develop to their full potential. Unfortunately, there are various factors that can affect a child mental state and not all the time they will be showered with love and affection and guided properly as they grow. There are countless children out there that grow up in an environment of hate, violence, and abuse. There are even those poor kids that are born with mental ailments that they totally have no control over. It is the reason why now more than ever, everyone should give mental health the attention it needs especially among young children who still can’t make decisions for themselves and need the support of adults to help them overcome these problems.
Children with serious mental health problems are becoming trapped in NHS psychiatric units, unable to leave because care is unavailable outside hospitals, a thinktank has said.
NHS figures show that between October 2015 and September 2016 children and young people in England spent almost 9,000 days in hospital after being declared fit to be discharged. Some end up stuck in units for several months.
NHS England did not tell the Education Policy Institute how many patients were involved in the 9,000 days, despite being asked this in a freedom of information request. But the thinktank said data showed the problem was growing.
The total number of what the EPI termed “wasted days” was 42% higher between December 2016 and February 2017 than in the same period in 2015-16. In January alone this year, under-18s spent 804 delayed days in mental health inpatient units, compared to 553 the previous January.
Young children are often stuck in hospitals because they can’t receive the same care and attention they need at home and they end up not only becoming an extra burden to their family and the immediate community but a threat as well. While it isn’t always the best experience for young kids to get confined in mental institutions because of a mental condition, at least they’d be able to get treated for their condition and not let it worsen than it already is. However, they eventually say goodbye to the normal life they used to have as total confinement deprives them of education, among other things, and the list can grow as their stay lengthens.
Mental health needs to be integrated into the school curriculum, which will help increase understanding and reduce stigma around issues. Without this, pupils may not be aware their mental health is deteriorating and feel silenced or shamed when seeking help.
If both pupils and teachers have more open discussions about mental health, issues will also be easier to identify early on, and this will help to build students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject.
Ideally, mental health needs to be talked about in the same way physical education or healthy eating is, because research has found that when schools adopt a comprehensive approach to discussing mental health it supports all pupils—including those who are experiencing mental health difficulties already.
As the world becomes more globally-interconnected, the dangers affecting children’s mental health also grows especially that kids have greater access to social media and the Internet without their parent’s supervision. Imagine the dangers that lurk in these platforms that bring about increased feelings of insecurity and cases of cyber bullying and suicide that can severely impact a child mentally and emotionally. Children often lose sight of what’s right because of the things they see online and their mental state can get severely shattered without their parents knowing.
Education is a powerful tool that parents and other adults can use to protect and uphold the mental health of children. Their mental health deserves our attention too before we are faced with problems we know nothing about or so little and lack the facilities to get these issues addressed especially among the juveniles.