Mental disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, which cause distress and problems getting through the day.
Children who do not receive adequate and appropriate support may develop mental health problems and the consequences include incidences of depression,anxiety and behavioral issues like school dropout, juvenile delinquency and substance abuse. When left unattended, can evolve to more serious problems later in life.
Long-term effects that last into adulthood include illiteracy, violence, criminal behaviour, underemployment and family breakdown. Many children occasionally have problems like fears and worries, or disruptive behaviors.
At least 1 in 5 children and adolescents has had, or is experiencing, a mental health challenge according to national studies. These statistics represent all children no matter their gender, race or economic-social circumstance. But, perhaps more alarming is the fact that at least one-third of these children, youth and their families do not receive the help they need to address their issues
If symptoms are severe and persistent, and interfere with school, home, or play activities, the child may be diagnosed with a mental disorder. Symptoms of mental disorders change over time as a child grows, and may include difficulties with how a child plays, learns, speaks, and acts or how the child handles their emotions
These Are Some Of The Mental Health Problems That Can Affect Children And Young People.
♦️ Depression affects more children and young people today than in the last few decades, but it is still more common in adults. Teenagers are more likely to experience depression than young children.
♦️ Self-harm is a very common problem among young people. Some people find it helps them manage intense emotional pain if they harm themselves, through cutting or burning, for example. They may not wish to take their own life.
♦️ Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) can cause young people to become extremely worried. Very young children or children starting or moving school may have separation anxiety.
♦️ Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can follow physical or sexual abuse, witnessing something extremely frightening of traumatising, being the victim of violence or severe bullying or surviving a disaster.
♦️ Children who are consistently overactive (‘hyperactive’), behave impulsively and have difficulty paying attention may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many more boys than girls are affected, but the cause of ADHD aren’t fully understood.
♦️ Eating disorders usually start in the teenage years and are more common in girls than boys. The number of young people who develop an eating disorder is small, but eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can have serious consequences for their physical health and development.
Read also: Adolescent behavioural problems
Advice on care:
Childhood mental disorders can be treated and managed. There are many treatment options based on the best and most current medical evidence, so parental and professional help is necessary. They should work closely with everyone involved in the child’s treatment.