Your Child Needs You

Well, obviously.
I guess that’s probably what you’re thinking?

I don’t think many parents actually read my blog so this might be completely pointless, but I decided that as this is something I’m particularly passionate about, I needed to write it anyway. Also, maybe some of the readers closer to my age will remember this post when they come to having children. Hopefully.

I’m not talking about general parent-child relationships here. Obviously, your children need you. I’m talking about something that I don’t think people think about much: child mental health.

This is something that I could talk about for days and my main passion lies in this area. I think I’ll probably end up in a job relating to child mental health at some point. Who knows. Anyway, I’ll try not to go on for too long.

I feel like a lot of the time people assume that when you’re young, you don’t really have any worries or concerns or, indeed, mental illnesses. After all, what is there to worry about when you’re young? I assure you, this could not be further from the truth.

If you’re still unsure, I, myself suffered from anxiety as a child and if you’re still unsure, here’s some stats.

 

  • Three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health disorder

  • One in Four (26%) young people in the UK experience suicidal thoughts

  • ChildLine (UK) has revealed that it held 34,517 counselling sessions in 2013/14 with children who talked about suicide – a 116 percent increase since 2010/11

  • Among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70% in the past 25 years

  • The number of children and young people who have presented to A&E with a psychiatric condition have more than doubled since 2009.

 – YoungMinds

Pretty shocking, right?

I think I was about ten when I first went to the doctor. I was complaining to my parents constantly with tummy aches and feeling sick. The doctor told us that it was anxiety and that I’d grow out of it. That was the end of that. Ten years later, here we are and I can safely say, I certainly did not grow out of it. I can’t help but wonder, if my mental illness had been acknowledged and treated properly at that time, would I still be suffering now? I believe that the answer is no.

Instead of ‘she’ll grow out of it’, maybe considering the reasons why a child at the age of ten is suffering with anxiety may have been a start. What are the causes? What are the triggers?

For a while it wasn’t an issue. Maybe I had grown out of it, for a bit. But the point is that at the age of eighteen my world fell apart with debilitating anxiety and depression because my ‘issues’ as a child hadn’t been resolved. I probably sound a bit bitter. Maybe I am.

The point I’m making is, be aware of your child’s mental health and teach them to look after it. Teach them the importance of looking after your mental health as well as your physical health – most school’s don’t even mention it. It’s down to you. I’m not saying that children should be mollycoddled, I believe that children should be allowed to be children. But that’s the exact point. A difficult childhood is likely to lead to a difficult adulthood and we need to educate and support our children. Treatment whilst young may prevent needing treatment as an adult (and dare I say it, worse). Resolve it now.

Pay attention to things and don’t dismiss your child’s feelings. Don’t brush them off.

This may have turned out quite ranty and long but that wasn’t the intention, I just can’t stress it enough.

If you’re worried about your child, I encourage you to contact the YoungMinds Parents Helpline which is completely confidential and free of judgement.

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8 Comments

  1. January 11, 2017 / 3:21 am

    It’s great to see you’re so passionate about this cause. I didn’t know there was such a magnitude of children struggling with MH in the UK. There could be similar numbers in parts of the U.S. where I am too. I think an additional way to help the kids is support group for the parents. It would help them learn how to handle these types of situations they’re not expecting to have as new parents, and that would bring people together & may be more kid’s MH situations can be resolved!
    -SV
    WorsToThePower.com

  2. January 12, 2017 / 11:39 am

    I completely agree with you 100%. When I become a parent, I will definitely watch my child’s behaviours and if there is anything unusual, try to catch it early on so we can try and control it. Looking back, I think my anxiety started at a very young age but it was never noticed.
    It’s so important that children can seek help too.
    Amazing post Hannah! I love your passion for this topic! X

  3. January 13, 2017 / 12:23 pm

    This needs more attention than ever! You are 100% correct. It has been and continues to be such a neglected area. Great post.

  4. January 14, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    I remember lots of people telling me when I was younger, that their school days were the best in their life. It often felt like what they were really saying was “You should love school, because I did”. So I agree that people tend to assume younger people don’t have mental health problems, when the statistics show that they definitely do. My firsthand experience of struggling at school also proves mental health difficulties can occur at a younger age. So great article highlighting these issues. One of the saddest things I’ve seen is a graph showing suicide of males, which has a sudden jump at the age of 10 years old! There are lots of pressures on young people, both male and female. I just hope there’s more awareness and support out there fore young people.

  5. Alys
    January 15, 2017 / 9:56 am

    I’m so sorry to hear you had that happen to you. I know that feeling all to well of going to the doctor at 16, which isn’t quite as young I understand. But being told that the reason I gave them for triggering my depression and anxiety was a load of nonsense.
    I wish people would take those seriously when they go to see help, as it could prevent so much in their futures.

    I feel positive enough to say today that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we will find a way out of what consumes us.

    Alys

  6. February 12, 2017 / 6:31 pm

    I completely agree with you. I am a secondary school teacher (and mummy to a two year old) and this needs attention now more than ever. I am currently mentoring a Y11 student trying to cope with anxiety, consequently her attendance has dropped massively and her grades are suffering. Unfortunately there isn’t enough information/funding/agencies to enable us to support our young people.

  7. February 20, 2017 / 3:46 pm

    On the risk of sounding superficial….I always had tummy aches and felt sick when I was little too? That was in my addition to my laughable self esteem and feeling of no purpose in life…..now I’m seriously wondering what I was going through.

  8. February 20, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    A great idea to write a post like this on suh an important topic

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