They say that “It takes a Village to Raise a Child“. And in the village, different people play different roles like a friend, cousin, mentor, doctor, counselor, etc to the kid. But with modernization, that village which a child requires is shrinking rapidly. Most of the families are turning into nuclear families and the role of grandparents is becoming limited in a child’s life. In some cases, two parents are being replaced by a single parent too. But whatever may be the case, we as parents want to provide a happy childhood to our kids isn’t it? That’s the reason why most parents try to don as many hats as possible and do multi-tasking while raising their children. One such hat, which every parent should wear is the counselor or the mental health coach hat for their kids. To wear that hat, we all need basic knowledge of mental health, especially that of the kids.
What is meant by Mental Health Literacy?
The basic knowledge of various mental health issues and their symptoms is called the “Mental Health Literacy“. The term Mental Health Literacy has originated from the term, Health Literacy. The meaning of both these terms is more or less similar. Mental Health Literacy means understanding, how to maintain positive mental health, understanding various mental health problems and their symptoms. Also, having knowledge about the various self-help mechanisms or how to seek the appropriate information from the mental health experts.
Most psychologists or life coaches are working towards reducing the stigma related to Mental Health disorders. But still, we do have a long way to go, before being accepted by the community.
Why is it Important?
In the current modern and highly competitive world, kids are also prone to anxiety, stress, and depression. They undergo a lot more behavioral and psychological disorders like ADHD, ADD, ODD, Autism, etc. So, its time for the parents to wake up and understand the importance of the Mental Health Literacy
Even if there is no mental health illness, childhood depression alone is taking the lives of around 3% of the children’s lives as per the research statistics. This fact alone is alarming and sufficient for the parents to be vigilant about their child’s behavior.
The symptoms of most of the Mental Health issues in kids are similar to age-related traits which the kids exhibit. Hence they get ignored till the time those minor symptoms snowball into bigger problems. The research shows that most of the mental health problems in kids could be cured or mitigated by more than 90% when the experts intervene and provide timely assistance. The early intervention is always better and helps the child lead a happy life in the future.
So, in order to detect the different mental health issues at the earliest, the parents should have the basic knowledge of mental health especially that of kids. As long as we are aware and vigilant about the behavior exhibited by our children, then we will be able to observe any deviations and that helps us seek the guidance of the experts immediately.
As stated earlier itself, the symptoms for most of the mental health issues look similar to that of age-related problems. Most of the parents are not really trained Mental Health experts, so we might not be able to understand those symptoms’ severity or the need for expert intervention. But if we feel that the age-related problems are becoming severe or increasing in intensity, we can contact the Kids Life Coaches immediately.
Kids Life Coaches are bridging the gap between the trained mental health experts and parents. They work more closely with the kids and understand the basics of child psychology. So they can refer to the trained psychologist or therapist based on the needs of the child. So, it’s always better to be in touch with a kids life coach and make your child attend various sessions from them.
These days, most of the schools are also having an in-house Kids Life Coach to address the psychological disturbances that crop up during middle and secondary school levels in the children.
Apart from the negative connotation, there are a lot more positive things that we can achieve with this basic mental health literacy. We can identify our child’s passion, his sensitive moods, his strong and weak points, etc. That way, we can work towards removing his fears and other weaknesses with the help of the Kids life coaches
So, the knowledge of Mental Health especially that of kids is very important for all parents. They need to be vigilant and careful about the various behaviors exhibited by the kids at different stages so that they can understand how the child is? Here is the parting quote from my end about the importance of a Child’s Mental Health.