Sunday, January 10, 2016

How do the parents know that their child needs help?

Mental health of children has become the biggest conundrum in our modern society. Shrinking families, working parents, stressed family relationships, competition and peer pressure, reduced community activities and decreased focus on rigorous outdoor sports – all adding up, to take a serious toll on the mind of children and adolescents. It is never easy for a parent to decipher the precise moment when their child needs serious professional help.

The first challenge is to recognize the signs of the imminent problems. Going through little or no formal training in parenting psychology and child behaviour, young parents are found wanting when it comes to handling children and adolescent mental health issues. The next challenge lies in the timing of decisive parental intervention. At what point should one step in, and seek professional help? Millions of households around the world are grappling with deteriorating emotional health of children and young adults. Ignorance or failure to act in time can lead to far more serious consequences – deep clinical depression, irreversible trauma or even early end to precious lives.

So, is there a magic prescription for early identification of failing mental health in youngsters? Well, there clearly are many warning signs. Some of the following common warning signs amongst children and adolescents may suggest latent emotional, behavioural or mental health problems:
  • Sudden but visible decline in academic performance
  • Loss of interest in things that were previously enjoyable
  • Increasing amount of restlessness, irritability or complete inability to concentrate
  • Inexplicably altered sleeping or eating patterns
  • Isolation – avoidance of friends and/or family members and preference for being alone all the time
  • Continuous daydreaming, procrastination, inability to complete allotted tasks
  • Behavioural issues such as being melodramatic, uncharacteristically loud or throwing tantrums
  • Selective mutism, uncharacteristic shyness, anxiety of socializing and communication 

Apart from the above signs, parents should observe keenly and see if their growing child is experience one of more of the following:

  • Persisting blues – feeling of deep sorrow and helplessness
  • Worry, nervousness, unfounded concerns, edginess or even anxiety over frivolous issues
  • Extreme bouts of radically varying emotions - inexplicable fears, anger and crying
  • Feeling of unwarranted or extreme guilt or worthlessness
  • Complete loss of concentration, attentiveness and focus, dwindling memory
  • Inability to get over the pain of personal loss, including death of someone close
  • Too much concern over physical appearance, cleanliness and personal hygiene  
  • Constant fretting over health problems
  • Constant fear over losing one’s mind
  • Obsession, rumination, uncontrollable racing thoughts  
  • Regular nightmare, flashback of unpleasant past events, fear of death and destruction
  • Suicidal or self-harming thoughts
  • Continuous worry about inflicting pain on others or on self

Finally, parents should seek professional help immediately if:

  • they happen to suspect that their ward might be resorting to alcohol or drugs
  • that their ward is increasingly alienating himself or herself
  • that he or she is trying harm or inflict pain upon self or others, including animals
  • uncontrollably gorging on food or purging / limiting food severely / being obsessive about diet and exercise
  • engaging in risqué behaviors – physically, emotionally or sexually
  • violating others’ rights / constantly breaking the law / damaging property
  • threatening or even hurting others from the same age group or younger ones

Please do not postpone your decision to seek advice and assistance from professionally qualified experts whenever the need arises. Early detection of signs of acute emotional or behavioural problems goes a long way in redressal of the issues, saving lives of children and adolescents in need of specialized psychological support. Any delay can lead to a chronic state and many a times become fatal.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share