Mental Health Care for Children and Teens

Many parents often believe their responsibility towards their children is limited to providing for their basic needs such as food, drink, education, and play, neglecting their emotional and mental well-being. Therefore, through this article, I would like to discuss signs that may indicate the need for mental health care for children and teens and how to provide such care.

Mona Youssri Psychologist
Dr. Mona Youssri
Published on:Feb 22nd 2024 |Updated on:Mar 10th 2024
الصحة النفسية للأطفال والمراهقين

Signs The Mental Health of Your Child Needs Care

  • Noticeable changes in the child's personality include becoming more outgoing or reserved than usual.
  • Behavioral changes, including increased rebelliousness and aggression or increased isolation and introversion.
  • Alterations in sleep patterns, such as excessive sleep or insomnia.
  • Unusual fluctuations in appetite, either a significant decrease or increase.
  • Prolonged feelings of sadness lasting two weeks or more.
  • Decreased social interaction with family and friends.
  • Sudden mood swings, such as excessive laughter or frequent crying.
  • Persistent headaches or stomachaches.
  • Refusal to attend school.
  • Self-harming behaviors, such as causing physical harm to oneself, require immediate attention from professionals.
  • Talking about death or suicide, even in a joking context, is considered a serious warning sign that requires immediate parental intervention. It is crucial not to discuss suicide or the desire for death in front of children or threaten them with harm.

Steps to Protect Children and Adolescents from Mental Health Problems

1 | Creating a Healthy Environment

Parents should provide a healthy environment for their children, avoiding violence, shouting, or anger in dealing with them.

2 | Offering Psychological Care When Needed

In some cases, environmental factors beyond our control, such as death or living through a war or natural disaster, can directly impact a child's mental health. Seeking care from professionals is essential to address any issues resulting from such traumas.

3 | Increasing Awareness

Raising awareness about the mental health of children and adolescents is crucial. Parents should be vigilant in identifying signs indicating a need for treatment providing early care and intervention.

4 | Adopting Effective Parenting Techniques

Increasing parental awareness of modern parenting techniques can help them deal with their children, especially those facing behavioral problems.

5 | Seeking Counseling

Turning to family counseling can help overcome communication problems and create a healthy family environment for the child to grow up in.

A Word on Bullying!

Bullying is one of the factors that negatively affects the mental health of children and teenagers. It is essential to protect children from bullying, teaching them coping mechanisms when faced with it. It's worth noting that both the bully and the victim may need psychological care, as the child most probably resorts to bullying when he or she has a mental health issue.

Therapy and Psychological Consultation

Parents may have concerns about seeking help from mental health professionals, fearing lengthy treatment, costs, and other misconceptions. However, there are many counselors and psychologists capable of assessing a child or adolescent's condition and advising parents on the most suitable treatment path, whether it involves psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, or medication.

It is crucial not to leave the stress and mental strain on children and adolescents untreated, as mental health requires attention and care, just like physical health, to prevent long-term psychological and physical complications. Therefore, it is essential to promote and emphasize the concepts of mental health care for children and teens alongside our focus on physical care and disease prevention.

Also check out Understanding Children Autism

Mona Youssri Psychologist
Dr. Mona YoussriClinical Psychologist

Dr. Mona is a licensed psychologist and family counselor at the Saudi German Hospital in Dubai. She is an APA (American Psychological Association), MEPA member (Middle East Psychological Association), and ACAMH member. She is also a lifetime member of the International Honor Society in Psychology (PSI CHI). Dr. Mona is also a certified trainer and corporate Coach with a Master of Arts in Psychology from the American University Cairo. She diagnoses and treats children with behavioral problems using play therapy and behavioral management techniques.

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