Protecting Children’s Mental Health
As a parent, you instinctively want to shield your child from hardships, which is why it can be hard to accept the fact that children are not always happy. Since young people often lack the vocabulary and emotional context to adequately explain their feelings, it’s essential for adults to recognize and support children’s mental health and educate themselves about the warning signs of developmental and behavioral health issues.
What Is Children’s Mental Health?
Mentally healthy children have an overall positive outlook on life, are on track with developmental milestones and can generally function well at school and in other social situations. However, mental well-being is not merely the lack of a mental disorder.
While any child can experience fears and worries or act out of turn, these symptoms do not necessarily indicate a problem unless they become severe enough to interfere with the way your child learns, plays or handles their emotions. Still, it helps to think of children’s mental health as being on a spectrum. Even the most well-adjusted children can feel sad sometimes, have a bad day at school or occasionally struggle to get along with their classmates.
It’s crucial to talk to your child about how they are feeling and pay attention to their grades and relationships. If necessary, seek professional help. Without early diagnosis and treatment, mental disorders can interfere with your child’s healthy development, causing problems that can persist into adulthood.
How to Nurture Your Child’s Mental Health
A caregiver who is a stable presence in a child’s life plays a vital role in helping them develop emotional resilience. This person is typically a parent or another family member who spends quality time with your child and provides consistent, non-judgmental love and acceptance.
It’s essential for children to grow up in an environment where they have caring relationships with family and friends. Here are some other ways you can support children’s mental health.
- Help children develop self-esteem by teaching them how to set realistic goals and showing interest in their hobbies and activities.
- Model a positive example by taking good care of yourself, talking openly about your feelings and making time for hobbies and exercise.
- Keep track of your child’s media consumption and screen time, including their online activities and interactions.
- Teach children ways to relax when they feel upset, such as doing yoga stretches or going for a walk.
- Find a licensed therapist or counselor your child can talk to about problems they don’t feel comfortable bringing to you.
We Help Families Heal
Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services offers treatment specifically tailored to the needs of children and adolescents. Our Child and Adolescent Unit provides inpatient and outpatient therapy to clients with psychiatric and substance use disorders. Our team, which includes a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, offers assessments for various conditions, including depression, anxiety, mood disorders, ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.
To learn more about our programming and therapies, contact us today.