Mental health is a critical aspect of a child’s overall well-being, influencing how they think, feel, and act. It also affects how they handle stress, relate to others, and make choices as adults. Mental health is important at every stage of life and especially for children, as they don’t have the same agency over their surroundings or upbringing. For this reason, it’s important for adults to model healthy self care and provide safe environments for children to practice their own self care.
The Importance of Early Intervention
Studies show that half of those who will develop mental health disorders show symptoms by age 14. Despite this knowledge, many problems are ignored or disregarded until they reach crisis levels. This is why early intervention and access to professional help are so important.
Prevention and Early Intervention
Prevention and early intervention are vital elements in improving infant and child mental health. They help to prevent the development of mental illness as the child journeys into adolescence and adulthood. A few different ways to help support the mental health of children are building trust by meeting emotional and physical needs, encouraging them to seek healthy relationships with their peers, spending quality time together, and most importantly, modeling positive behavior. Even with genetic factors playing a role in the mental health of children, it’s always a good idea to work to mitigate health risks through emotional and behavioral intervention.
The Role of a Multidisciplinary Approach
It’s important to remember that mental health isn’t just the responsibility of mental health professionals. We need a variety of services working together to provide the best possible support. This approach gives us more ways to help but also reduces the risk of long-term problems while also saving cost on professional care, which can certainly add up. Not only that, but when families and communities combine efforts to mitigate mental health risks, it can make the job of professional healthcare providers much easier.
The overwhelming number of those struggling is a reminder of how often we wait too long to take action. Similar to physical healthcare, prevention and early intervention are vital for mental health. Just like working out and eating healthy can help to prevent certain ailments, there are many actions that can be taken to prevent mental health problems that start in childhood. One thing that all of these actions have in common is they have to be taken by someone who cares. Whether it’s family, friends, or professionals, it’s important that we all do our part to support the mental health of those in our communities.