How to Support a Child With Mental Health Issues
A parent’s role is to keep their child safe and healthy, but what happens when their youngster begins experiencing adverse mental health symptoms? Learning how to support a child with mental health issues can prevent long-term health complications and substance abuse. It’s common for children, once they are teenagers or older, to turn to alcohol or hard drugs as a coping mechanism or to self-medicate. Educating your child on drugs and how to positively distract the mind is essential.
How Can Parents Help With Mental Health?
As a parent, promoting the importance of maintaining good mental health is vital for your child to feel safe and heard in the household. Emotions are able to be expressed and properly managed. As a parent, educating yourself on the signs of early mental health issues can help prevent long-term problems.
Some signs to observe include:
- Not eating
- Social isolation
- Aggressive behavior
- Constant stress eating
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Intense worries or anxiety
- Suddenly involved in fighting
- Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
- Symptoms of depressive episodes
- Severe mood swings or out-of-control behavior
- Sudden poor school performance or skipping classes
After observing the signs, speaking to a professional or licensed therapist is recommended to hear the options or possible diagnosis of the child. After asking how to support a child with mental health issues, the specialist may advise unique programs like music and art therapy for your child to freely express themselves in a positive manner. Outside of professional therapy, other methods that may help include:
- Show love and acceptance
- Teach your child breathing techniques
- Make time to be active with your child
- Help them set short and long-term goals
- Encourage them to express their feelings
- Avoid judgment and frequent intense lectures
- Work on your mental health to be a good role model
- Ask questions about their interests and stay involved
- Ask them if they would like to speak to a professional
- Practice with your child different ways to reduce stress
Parenting a child with mental illness is not easy and may inflict sadness and frustration upon you. In these cases, parents must build a support system and find healthy ways to reduce stress and aggravation. For example, staying calm in situations where a child behaves intensely is crucial to lowering negative mental health symptoms. In addition, learning how to stay relaxed naturally will help a parent avoid turning to alcohol or other drugs to cope with difficult situations.
What Are Common Mood Disorders in Children?
There are distinct differences between adult and child mental health signs and symptoms, although there are also many similarities. Mental health problems may begin due to family history or genetics, poverty, bullying, witnessing a traumatic event, physical or sexual abuse, or substance abuse. These scenarios, especially if traumatic, may cause disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or severe depression.
Common mood disorders in children are major depression, bipolar disorder, dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder), substance-induced mood disorder, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (extreme irritability, anger, and intense, frequent outbursts). As a parent, it’s important to monitor your child’s mood but also to understand that children go through behavior changes and may just need some extra patience and attention.
Mental Health Care in Boca Raton
At Banyan Mental Health, our experienced medical staff prepares a safe and clean environment for our patients to express their emotions and get to the root of the issue. If you are a concerned parent and desire to speak to a professional about how to support a child with mental health issues, then call us now. If you are a parent who is struggling with mental health or substance abuse and are concerned that you are not the appropriate role model for your child, we offer unique programs and medical detox services that will help!