- Studies show that mental health disorders in children are on the rise.
- Experts recommend unconventional therapy for children to reduce the risk of mental illness.
The Landscape Of Children’s Mental Health
The landscape of children’s mental health is concerning, with an increasing number of children experiencing mental health challenges. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in six children across the globe has a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.
Additionally, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in the US states that half of all mental health disorders begin by the age of 14, and three-quarters by the age of 24.
The prevalence of mental health issues related to depression, ADHD, eating and sleep disorders, and negative self-image among children is increasing, and it is crucial to address this issue.
Taking Care Of Children’s Mental Health
Taking care of children’s mental health is crucial because mental health disorders can have long-lasting effects on a child’s development and well-being. Children with mental health disorders are at a higher risk of poor academic performance, substance abuse, and suicide attempts.
Mental health disorders can also affect a child’s physical health and lead to chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it is essential to address children’s mental health issues to promote healthy development and prevent long-term negative outcomes.
Conventional Mental Health Therapy For Kids
Conventional mental health therapy for kids includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), play therapy, and family therapy. CBT is a structured and goal-oriented form of therapy that focuses on changing negative thoughts and behaviors. Play therapy involves using play to help children express their feelings and resolve emotional and behavioral difficulties.
Family therapy aims to improve family dynamics and communication to address mental health issues. These therapies have been shown to be effective in treating a range of mental health disorders in children, including anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems.
Unconventional Therapy To Improve Children’s Mental Health
In addition to conventional therapy, unconventional therapy can also improve children’s mental health. Dance therapy involves using movement and dance to help children express their emotions, improve body awareness, and promote relaxation.
Drama therapy uses role-playing, improvisation, and storytelling to help children explore their feelings and improve communication skills. Music therapy involves using music to promote emotional expression, relaxation, and communication.
Art therapy uses creative processes such as drawing, painting, and sculpting to help children express their feelings and improve their self-esteem.
Humanistic therapies like those mentioned above are proven to improve emotional regulation, self-esteem, and social functioning in children with mental health disorders.
For example, a study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing found that dance therapy improved emotional regulation and social functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder. Another study published in the Journal of Applied Arts and Health found that drama therapy improved self-esteem and social skills in children with anxiety and depression.
Music therapy has also been shown to improve children’s mental health. A 2021 study published in Front Psychiatry revealed that music-based interventions can actually help children with ADHD and communication and learning disorders.
Similarly, art therapy is associated with the cultivation of creativity and emotional resilience, enhanced social skills, and reduced emotional distress and maladjustment in children.
Parental Support In Therapy For Children
Unconventional performing arts-based interventions is a fun way to help children care for their mental health, besides avoiding the stigmatization that accompanies conventional psychotherapies. However, these interventions alone may not be effective in reducing the risk of mental health disorders.
Parents or parental figures need to assume a stronger role in taking care of children’s mental health. They need to create a safe and open environment at home so that children can communicate their problems and seek effective solutions.
Keeping updated with the latest mental health news and psychoeducation can also provide parents with a greater advantage when it comes to supporting their children in their struggle against debilitating mental health conditions. This will enhance treatment and recovery outcomes in mental health therapy for kids.
Creating a safe and healthy environment for our children should be a top priority for all of us, and National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on this commitment. We must acknowledge that mental health is just as important as physical health, and ensure that children have access to the resources and support they need to thrive.
This includes providing a supportive home environment, promoting positive social connections, and advocating for policies that prioritize children’s mental health. Let us take this day as a reminder to make mental health a priority in our families and communities, and work towards creating a future where every child has the opportunity to lead a happy and healthy life.