Being a parent can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life but it is also one of the most challenging where as a parent, you want to provide your child with the best possible life but sometimes that means dealing with difficult issues such as concerns about your child’s mental health. Mental health issues among children are more common than many people realise in fact as per the reports, one in five children will experience a mental health disorder in any given year and these disorders can take many forms, including anxiety, depression, ADHD and behavioural disorders among others.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Archit Garg, Co-Founder of Glamyo Health, shared, “As a parent, it’s natural to feel concerned when your child exhibits signs of mental health issues. However, it’s important to remember that these issues are treatable, and that seeking help early can make a big difference in your child’s life.” According to him, here are some signs that your child may be experiencing mental health issues:
- Changes in behaviour or mood – If your child suddenly becomes withdrawn, irritable, or moody, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
- Difficulty concentrating – Children with mental health issues often have trouble focusing on tasks or completing homework.
- Sleep problems – Insomnia or excessive sleepiness can be signs of depression or anxiety.
- Changes in appetite – A sudden change in appetite, whether it be an increase or decrease, can also be a sign of a mental health disorder.
Archit Garg advised, “If you notice any of these signs in your child, it’s important to talk to them about what they’re experiencing. Encourage them to share their feelings and thoughts with you, and reassure them that it’s okay to feel this way. You should also consider seeking professional help. A mental health professional can help you identify the underlying issue and provide your child with the appropriate treatment. There are many different types of treatments available for mental health issues, including therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Your child’s treatment plan will depend on their specific needs and the nature of their disorder.”
Bringing her expertise to the same, Chaitra Nanjunda, Counselling Psychologist at Lissun, recommended, “It’s important for parents to understand that they need not necessarily know the answers to all the concerns their child might have. They need not have a solution tailor made to resolve the issue. Children will sometimes be vulnerable to feel helpless by their external world, even more so with their internal battles.”
She asserted, “In times like these if you simply foresee that your child is not his/her usual self-making an effort to simply hear them out and it’s something outside of your comfort space to help them to have them see a professional who could will in itself make you a confidant they can approach with any of their problems. In recent years parenting styles have evolved to be more permissive in view of having their child have individualism, but turning a blind eye by giving children their ‘personal space’ may not ALWAYS be the solution. Most of the times children are children, who are in fact developmentally years behind parents, so do not hesitate to help them.”
Abhay Kumar, Co-Founder and Director at Institute of Real Estate and Finance (IREF), said, “Parents have a multitude of responsibilities, including ensuring their child’s physical and mental health. In this day and age, with the increasing stress of academics, extracurricular activities and social life, it’s common for parents to be concerned about their child’s mental health. Mental health is an essential component of overall well-being, and as a responsible educational institution, we prioritise the mental health of our students. Mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety and behavioural disorders, are common among children.”
According to a report by the World Health Organization, half of all mental health disorders start by the age of 14 and three-quarters of mental health disorders start by the age of 24. Abhay Kumar highlighted, “Mental health of our students is as important as their academic success. We recognize that parents are concerned about their child’s mental health, and we are committed to providing the necessary support to our students and their families. By working together, we can create a safe and nurturing environment where our students can thrive both academically and emotionally. Being a parent is not easy and concerns about your child’s mental health can add an extra layer of stress. By prioritising the mental health of students, we can help them lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.”