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.
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.