1. Home
  2. Blog

World Mental Health Day: Spotting Early Signs of Child Mental Health Issues and What to Do

World Mental Health Day 2023 underscores the universal right to mental health and emphasizes the importance of recognizing early signs of mental health issues to provide timely support.

Shivangi Rai
Mental health is a fundamental aspect of overall well-being, encompassing how individuals think, manage their emotions, and behave in various situations. (Image Courtesy- Freepik)
Mental health is a fundamental aspect of overall well-being, encompassing how individuals think, manage their emotions, and behave in various situations. (Image Courtesy- Freepik)

World Mental Health Day is observed every year on October 10 with the primary goal of increasing awareness about mental health issues, reducing the associated stigma, and encouraging open discussions about mental health challenges and the importance of seeking help when needed.

The theme for World Mental Health Day 2023, as outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "Mental health is a universal human right." This theme emphasizes the significance of promoting and safeguarding the mental well-being of everyone as a fundamental human right.

One vital aspect of mental health that deserves attention is understanding and addressing mental health problems in children. Children can experience various mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), pediatric bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), separation anxiety disorder (SAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and autism spectrum disorders. Recognizing the early signs of these issues in children is crucial for their overall well-being.

  1. Changes in Behaviour: One of the earliest indicators of mental health problems in children is noticeable changes in their behaviour. These changes might involve sudden aggression, withdrawal from social interactions, or persistent irritability. Parents and caregivers should pay close attention to these shifts as they can signify underlying emotional distress.

  2. Difficulty in Concentration: A decline in academic performance or an inability to focus on tasks can be a sign of mental health concerns in children. While it's normal for children to occasionally struggle with concentration, a persistent pattern might suggest issues like anxiety or attention disorders.

  3. Emotional Turmoil: Unexplained mood swings, excessive fears, or intense feelings of sadness without apparent reasons can indicate underlying mental health problems. Children may not always express their emotions verbally, so adults must observe these emotional fluctuations.

  4. Out-of-Control Behaviour: Children displaying out-of-control behaviour that harms themselves or others require immediate attention. This behaviour may include aggression, destructiveness, or uncontrollable tantrums.

  5. Physical Symptoms: Mental health issues can manifest in physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, or frequent illnesses. While these symptoms can have various causes, especially in children, a consistent pattern alongside emotional changes should raise concern.

  1. Regression: Reverting to behaviours typical of a younger age, such as bed-wetting or thumb-sucking, can indicate emotional distress. Regression often serves as a coping mechanism when a child feels overwhelmed or anxious.

  2. Change in Sleeping Pattern and Appetite: Drastic alterations in sleeping or eating patterns signify mental health issues. Insomnia, nightmares, or a sudden loss of appetite can manifest stress, anxiety, or depression in children.

  3. Self-Harm or Suicidal Thoughts: Alarmingly, some children may resort to self-harm or express thoughts of self-harm or suicide. These are clear cries for help and should never be ignored.

Seeking Professional Help

Recognizing these early signs is essential, but it's important to note that one or two symptoms alone do not confirm the presence of mental health issues. However, promptly seeking professional help when you observe these signs is crucial. Professional support can provide children with the assistance they need to navigate their challenges. Early intervention significantly improves a child's prognosis and overall well-being.

Additionally, creating an open and non-judgmental environment for children to discuss their emotions and concerns is vital in effectively addressing mental health issues. Encouraging communication and showing understanding can go a long way in helping children feel supported and heard.

Thus, World Mental Health Day 2023 emphasizes the universal right to mental health and highlights the importance of early recognition and support for children facing mental health challenges. By understanding the early signs and seeking professional help when needed, we can promote the mental well-being of children and ensure they have the best possible chance at a healthy and fulfilling future.

Magnoliaceous Quiz: Take a Quiz on National Mango Day Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters