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Identifying and Addressing Mental Health Issues in Children Aged 3 to 8

A storyteller-researcher who focuses on the prevention of mental disorders and substance abuse among children, youth, and young adults.


Children's mental health concerns' tell-tale signs

Children experience ups and downs frequently, which has an impact on how they feel and act. However, there are occasions when kids don't "bounce back from the downs," and this begins to have an impact on other aspects of their lives. This may indicate that a child is experiencing mental health issues.

Here are a few indicators of mental health issues. It's crucial to chat with your child and then seek expert assistance if you see any of these symptoms in your child and they persist for longer than a few weeks.

Behavior and emotional indicators Your child:

throws tantrums frequently, acts stubbornly or aggressively without fail, frequently cries out of fear or worry, becomes extremely distressed when apart from you, or avoids social situations

starts acting in ways they've outgrown, such as thumb-sucking or peeing on the bed, or exhibits difficulty paying attention, restlessness, or any combination of these.

Physical concerns

Your kid exhibits:

Unknown medically induced bodily pain, such as headaches, stomach aches, nausea, or other physical ailments, that prevents you from sleeping or eating.

social signs and schooling

You might observe your child while they are at school if they are:

failing to do as well as normal academically, struggling to fit in or get along with classmates, and refusing to attend social events like birthday celebrations.

In some cases your child could also be experiencing symptoms of depression.

It's common for kids to feel depressed, irritable, or have pessimistic thoughts; this is a natural aspect of healthy growth and learning to control emotions. However, depression in children goes beyond feeling depressed or down.

The mental health issue of depression in children has an impact on their thinking, emotions, and behavior. Children that are depressed frequently have negative thoughts about their present circumstances, their future, and themselves.

It might be challenging for your child to learn, make friends, and enjoy daily life if they are depressed. Children who experience depression for a prolonged period of time without receiving therapy may experience academic difficulties, self-confidence issues, and social withdrawal.

Discussions on mental health issues with children

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Encourage your child to talk to you about their feelings if you see a sudden shift in their mood or behavior, and pay close attention to what they have to say. If anything is upsetting your child, listening and demonstrating your understanding will help.

Here are some suggestions to consider if you're unsure how to approach your child about mental health issues:

Tell your child you want to help them because you've noticed they seem sad. If you are welcoming, don't criticize them, and don't overreact to what they tell you, your child will be more likely to open up to you about their feelings.

Tell your child that it's normal for kids to experience worry, tension, or sadness from time to time. If you can, try to determine whether your child's unhappiness is caused by a particular, passing circumstance or a more serious, persistent issue.

This might assist you in determining how to best assist your child. For instance, you could demonstrate empathy by paying attention to your child's thoughts and feelings if they are upset over not receiving an invitation to a birthday celebration. However, you must engage with your child's teachers to find a solution if your child is dealing with a serious and persistent issue, such as bullying.

Receiving support for your child's mental health issues

If your child's mood or behavior changes, it's crucial to seek professional assistance as soon as possible.

It affects how well your child can go about their daily routines and enjoy life if you persist for more than a few weeks.

There are several possibilities for expert support, including:

a psychologist with experience working with children and families, your child's preschool or school teacher, a school counselor, your general practitioner

Your community health center's mental health service has a mental health social worker on staff.

Problems of childhood mental health

A trained practitioner, such as a clinical psychologist, may identify a mental health illness in your child if their mental health issues are seriously affecting their lives.

Two categories of childhood mental health issues are typically used:

disorders include oppositional defiant disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as depression and anxiety disorders.

© 2022 Charlene Grendon

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