Introduction to Children’s Mental Health

Supporting the mental health of children and teenagers is an extremely critical aspect of their overall well-being. Children’s and teens’ mental health can be defined as achieving emotional milestones while also simultaneously developing effective coping strategies. Understanding the challenges and struggles faced by young children and teenagers is extremely important. Although mental health can significantly impact an individual’s emotional state, it can also play a large role on their physical health. A child or teenager’s mental well-being can also correlate with their ability to thrive in social circumstances and go through different situations that they may encounter.

Common Mental Health Challenges Teenagers and children face

As a child goes through the stages of their life they may face different struggles, a general overview of a few of the most common ones include

  • Anxiety disorders – Different anxiety disorders including GAD(generalized anxiety disorder) –one of the most common, panic and social anxiety disorders often lead to an inability or difficulty to take part in typical social situations due to extensive worries and fears that the child may feel.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)– This includes feelings of anxiety, distress, nightmares, and other behaviors in reaction to a traumatic event.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)- ASD is a developmental disorder that is caused by neurological differences in the brain, though the symptoms differ from person to person, they can include difficulties in cognitive or learning skills, delayed language skills, as well as impulsive behavior. It is usually diagnosed before the age of 4 years old.
  • ADHD (Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder)- Children or teens with ADHD often struggle comparatively more with attentiveness, concentration, and different impulsive behaviors.
  • Different mood disorders and depression- A teenager or child experiencing depression or mood disorders typically feel a noticeable amount of disinterest or feelings of unhappiness that persist. These feelings can often interfere with their day-to-day activities including school.

Understanding coping strategies.

Coping strategies often help regulate stress levels as well as intense emotions that we feel, it goes the same for children and teenagers. There are several benefits of utilizing coping strategies one of the main ones being slowing down the development of stress-related health issues. Coping skills for teenagers and young children allow their bodies to feel more “in control” of their strong feelings over a situation; this allows them to have a more composed reaction. Learning about coping strategies and using them when necessary aids in an individual gaining more emotional awareness. 

The significance of Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence–also known as emotional quotient–is an attribute that we usually develop as we age, it is the ability to manage and understand your emotions in a way that benefits both you in terms of managing your stress and other people in terms of your empathy and skills to resolve conflicts. Understanding and developing emotional intelligence at a young age is advantageous; it allows an individual to create a comparatively larger number of positive relationships, as well as regulate their emotions and behaviors better. The ability to express one’s emotions properly can have effects on several aspects of a child or teenager’s life making it a crucial trait to develop.

Helpful resources for children’s mental health

  • Mind (for Teens) – Nemours KidsHealth – This website has several resources that are aimed for guiding developing teenagers through struggles they may be going through; including answers to commonly asked questions, discussions, and advice.
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