According to Bharat Bhise, most parents don’t understand the significance of caring for the mental health of their children. Young minds are fragile, and they need to be tended to as much as their physical body to prevent the development of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression when they grow up.
Here are a few reasons why it is essential to care for mental health among youth:
1. Adolescents with mental health disorders are unrecognized in most cases –
According to studies, it is estimated that about 14 percent or 1 in 7 in the age group of 10-19 experience some form of mental health condition globally.
However, their condition remains largely unrecognized by adults since they typically tend to avoid seeking attention or asking for help. However, teenagers can suffer from intense physical, social, and emotional challenges during their formative years. Thus, it is your responsibility as a parent, teacher, or responsible adult to make every child feel safe and secure.
2. Many factors can affect the mental health of teenagers –
Without a good supportive or protective environment, a child cannot develop healthy patterns for sleeping, problem-solving, coping mechanisms, interpersonal skills, managing emotions, and more.
In fact, several factors such as exposure to violence, poverty, abuse, pressure to conform with peers, and more can stifle their growth and cripple them emotionally. Stigma, discrimination, and exclusion can also negatively impact the mental health of children, especially those who live in fragile settings such as those living with single or divorced parents, forced into early marriages, and more.
3. Many adolescents suffer from emotional, behavioral, and eating disorders –
Mental health disorders among youth can take various forms that might not be easily recognizable. These include emotional disorders such as anxiety disorders, depression, and more. It can also take the form of behavioral disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, and more.
Some adolescents develop eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa during their young adult years. Such a disorder can lead to serious medical complications and even death. Young adults who have suffered from human rights violations or have been stigmatized heavily can also suffer from psychosis.
4. Negligence can lead to risk-taking behavior and self-harm –
Many parents and adults don’t take adolescents who suffer from mental health disorders seriously until it’s too late. When their situation is constantly ignored, they can often develop risk-taking behaviors such as consuming drugs or even participating in sexual risk-taking in order to cope with their emotional difficulties. In fact, the use of heavy episodic consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis is well-documented in young adults.
Without proper education and the involvement of bad peers, the risk-taking tendencies can elevate to conducting violence that can cause injuries and even lead to death. In other cases, it can lead to self-harm and even suicide.
Bharat Bhise suggests you respect the rights of your child and address their worries to develop a deeper bond with them and prevent the development of any mental health illness that can be avoided. Ensure you look for the early signs of mental health disorders to address those when the time comes.