- Recent research shows how the conversation around children’s mental health is rapidly changing.
- Experts have attributed this change to mental health initiatives and programs (like those launched by Kate Middleton in the UK cropping up globally.
Besides fashion, Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, makes headlines for her ground-breaking mental health initiatives concerning early childhood years. But, it’s not just her. Several organizations across the world are coming together and working to improve wellness in the younger segments of the population.
Children’s Mental Health
Mental health disorders amongst young children and adolescents are at an all-time high. Studies show that children experience mental health conditions like:
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Emotional dysfunction
- Gender dysphoria
- Eating disorders
- Learning disorders
- Feelings of anger, confusion, etc.
Research, in fact, confirms that suicide linked to poor mental health has been a leading cause of death in late childhood and adolescence worldwide. Across countries, around 20.3% of the younger population commits suicide.
Challenges With Diagnosing Mental Illness In Children
Most mental health symptoms have their onset in childhood, but these go undiagnosed because of the difficulty in formulating screening tools for young children.
In most cases, the mental health symptoms are usually self-reported or reported by parental figures, and such ‘reports’ lack the validity and surety of practical diagnostic tools. Additionally, early mental health screening for children is plagued by prejudice, thanks to the stigmatization of mental health.
Shifting Approach To Mental Health For Children
In the post-pandemic period, the conversation around mental health and the approach toward mental health care, for both children and adults, are rapidly changing. More and more people are taking to mental health screening to diagnose the earliest signs of mental health conditions, self-harm, and even suicidality.
Moreover, children’s mental health is not viewed in isolation anymore. Several biological and psychosocial factors (like parental mental health, educators’ psychological well-being, etc.) have been taken into account.
The current approach verges on mental health for all, irrespective of age and boundaries. Because of this, attempts are being made to make mental healthcare services accessible to all—from children, to their families and friends, and even teachers and neighbors.
Mental Health Programs For Children
Several governmental and non-governmental agencies have started mental health screening initiatives and treatment programs to address the rising rates of mental health conditions, especially in children.
Different countries have started their respective Mental Health Awareness Month(s) to raise awareness about mental health and dissolve the attached stigma. In this context, special mention must go to charities in European countries with constitutional monarchies.
These organizations, under royal patronage, have been doing amazing work in mental health, child education, and psychoeducation across the world.
For instance, Kate Middleton is the Royal Patron of Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity that has been providing counseling to school children and teachers since 2013. In 2015, she helped launch the first-ever Children’s Mental Health Week in the UK.
In recent years, she has been actively involved in laudable mental health initiatives like Kate’s 5 Big Questions survey, a mental health emergency hotline called “SHOUT”, a program called Mentally Healthy Schools, etc.
Ensuring Good Mental Health For Children
In today’s fast-paced world, children are overburdened with performance expectations in academics, sports, social life, etc. Being the most mentally vulnerable population in the world, they are more susceptible to mental health conditions. These mental health issues, if untreated, can hamper their well-being and quality of life in the long run.
Therefore, it must be ensured—on part of the parents, caregivers, and the state—that they receive adequate mental health support to live happier, more fulfilling lives.
Speaking at a charity event, Kate Middleton elaborated: “There is more we can all do—every member of society can play a key role, whether that is directly with a child or by investing in the adults around them—the parents, the carers, the early years’ workforce and more.”
Know More About –
- Adverse Childhood Experiences
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)