What can affect a child’s or young adult’s mental health?There are many different things that can affect a child’s or young adult’s mental health. While the below is not an exhaustive list, these are the most common issues that can take their toll:
1. Social media
By far one of the most toxic influences that you see in this sector now is the way that social media can play its part. Most children now, certainly as they move towards their teenage years, will have a smartphone and access to sites such as Twitter or Facebook. Unfortunately, these can be misused by some and lead to cyber-bullying. The effects of this for mental health can be very serious and lead to issues such as low self-esteem and social problems.
2. Traditional bullying
Alongside cyber-bullying through social media, traditional physical bullying still happens and can be devastating for a child’s or young adult’s mental health. Aside from the actual stress and physical injury inflicted on a regular basis, this can bring on issues of violent emotional outbursts, a sense of low self-worth, and suicidal thoughts.
3. Academic pressure
Within the modern educational system, there is an increased academic pressure. The importance of good results for institutions has seen them drive standards up to gain better grades. In addition, the pressure put on pupils and students from pushy parents can really impact on a child’s mental health. The main side effects of this revolve around anxiety issues that can be caused along with the stress that this type of pressure can put on the mind.
4. Family issues
Another major cause of mental health issues for children is what is going on in their home life. Within this, marriage break-ups, divorces, or abuse can have a huge impact on them. If you notice a change in the behavior of one of your pupils, then often it can be something like this that is causing it. You may find that it manifests itself in general behavioral problems and out-of-character, rowdy behavior.
How can you spot possible mental health problems?While there is no absolute science to spotting potential mental health issues in any of your pupils or students, there are some things to look out for. If you notice these and are worried, then it is worth speaking to the relevant person(s) at your institution along with the child themselves.
Mood or behavioral changesBy far one of the biggest flags for possible mental health problems is a sudden and sustained change to their usual behavior for the worse. The general advice is to look for behavior that suggest difficulty concentrating, sadness, or withdrawal for up to two weeks, along with destructive behavior around interpersonal relationships in school, college, or university.
Emotional outburstsIf you find that a pupil or student is suddenly coming out with violent or extreme emotional outbursts for no reason. then this could be a sign of mental health issues. The outbursts are a way of expressing their pent-up negative feelings, so this is something that you need to watch out for.
Physical self-harmOne real warning sign if you notice it in regard to a pupil is physical self-harm. This involves the child or young adult physically injuring themselves through cutting or burning their own body. It is thought that the act of self-harm gives a level of control to a situation that they may be finding hard to deal with (such as bullying) along with a release for their feelings on the issue.
Vigilance is keyIf you are a teacher or lecturer, then this issue is something of which you will no doubt be aware. Being able to spot any potential signs of mental health issues in your classroom is vital in protecting the children or young adults you teach and helping them progress through life. Hopefully, this article will have given you some idea of what may cause mental health issues and how to look out for them.