Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week: Experts Explain The Future Of Children’s Mental Healthcare

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Mental health awareness equips children with the tools to cope with stress, anxiety, and other challenges. It helps them develop resilience and build healthy coping mechanisms. By recognising signs and symptoms early, children can receive the necessary support and treatment to prevent further complications. On this National Children’s Mental Awareness Day, we reached out to our experts, who explained the future of children’s mental healthcare and how it can get better.

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According to Frontiers in Psychology, promoting mental health during childhood and adolescence is crucial, as over half of mental health issues originate during these stages, with many persisting into adulthood. This has emerged as a priority due to global data indicating a rising prevalence of mental health challenges in youth, with nearly 20% affected.

Parental Influence on Resilience and Emotional Well-being

“In shaping the future of children’s mental healthcare, parents are not just bystanders; they are the architects of resilience and emotional well-being. When parents demonstrate composure and compassion in situations where children make mistakes, their children, in turn, mirror these attributes as growing adults to navigate life’s challenges with courage and compassion”, said Snigdha, Clinical Psychologist, Mave Health.

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Therapy as a Guiding Compass

Within the changing sphere of children’s mental healthcare, therapy functions as both a guiding compass and a secure refuge, assisting troubled young minds in navigating life’s challenges.

“It’s true parenting can be challenging and the future can look promising if parents collaborate with therapists to foster environments where mental wellness is sown early in children and nurtured consistently.  As we look forward, the role of therapy in the mental well-being of children can be pivotal in raising an emotionally resilient and mentally healthy generation”, added Snigdha.

 Also Read: Mental Health Matters: Expert Explains How Loneliness Affects Your Well-Being

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges, with a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealing a 24% increase in mental health-related emergency room visits among US children aged 5-11 and a 31% increase for those aged 12-17 in 2020 compared to 2019. Children’s mental health is increasingly recognised as a critical component of overall well-being and development. 

“Thankfully, the importance of early intervention is gaining traction. By identifying and addressing mental health concerns early on, we can equip children with the support and skills they need to navigate life’s challenges successfully. This includes fostering emotional resilience and providing coping mechanisms from a young age”, said Jai Sharma, Co-Founder and CMO of Mave Health.

A diagnosis can validate a child’s struggles and let them know they’re not alone. It can explain why children might see the world differently or have trouble with things that seem easy for others, helping them understand themselves better. 

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Tailored Approaches for Children

It is important to remember that the symptoms for children aren’t the same as for adults. Hence, the approach should be different. While adults may articulate their emotions and experiences more explicitly, children often express distress through changes in behaviour, mood, or physical symptoms.

Also Read: Mental Health Matters: Expert Lists Tips To Manage Family Issues

Gentle Parenting and Positive Reinforcement

“A child who consistently underperforms or displays disinterest in school may not necessarily be lazy or ‘need more discipline’ but could be grappling with internal battles that affect their ability to concentrate and engage. By addressing the root causes of these challenges and providing holistic support, we can help children overcome obstacles and thrive academically and emotionally”, added Sharma.

Gaining momentum alongside the focus on early childhood mental health is the concept of gentle parenting. This evidence-based approach prioritises empathy, respect, and understanding as guiding principles. 

“Something as simple as not yelling at your child when they spill something and saying, “Let’s grab a rag and clean it up together. Maybe next time we can use a bigger cup?” can go a long way in building a child’s sense of security and self-esteem. This positive reinforcement approach teaches them valuable life skills like problem-solving and responsibility without the sting of negativity”, highlighted Sharma.

Telehealth for Accessibility

Sharma highlighted, “I strongly believe telehealth and online therapy platforms offer great potential for making mental health services more accessible to all. These tools can be a lifeline for children living in remote areas or dealing with social anxieties that make in-person therapy challenging.”

[Disclaimer: This article contains information provided by an expert and is for informational purposes only. Hence, we advise you to consult your expert if your child is dealing with any mental health issues to get the necessary treatment.]

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