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Taking Care of Children’s Mental Health


When most of us think about folks going to therapy for mental health, we think about adults — people struggling with substance abuse, domestic violence survivors, folks going through a divorce, and those who are dealing with the loss of a loved one, for example. 
Unfortunately, many in society tend to overlook a critical group that needs mental help therapy just as much as everyone else: the youth. 
Just because this younger segment of the population might not have mortgage payments and bank accounts to worry about doesn’t mean they’re immune from mental health problems. In fact, one recent report found that 27 percent of young people felt anxiety within the last week, while 15 percent felt depressed. 
Believe it or not, more than half of high-risk youth don’t have access to the therapy they need to ensure their mental, emotional, and physical well-being. In the next section, we’ll examine why that is. 
One of the main reasons kids are an underserved population for mental health services is because society hasn’t necessarily prioritized the importance of mental health counseling for young people as much as it should.  
Case in point? According to the American School Counselor Association, each school should have one counselor per 250 students to ensure they’re getting the mental health support they need to live their best lives. Despite that, the average school district has just one counselor per 455 students. 
Right off the bat, we’re collectively setting the tone that says something like this: While student mental health services are important, they’re not incredibly important to the point we need to make them a top priority. 
Perhaps this is because many adults think that kids who are suffering through issues are “just going through a stage” — and that their problems aren’t anywhere as serious as an adult’s problems might be. This couldn’t be further from the truth — particularly for those who grow up in less-than-ideal circumstances (e.g., in poverty or with an abusive parent). 
The COVID-19 pandemic 
Since kids can struggle with mental health issues in the best of times, it comes as no surprise that these struggles only compounded in the wake of the pandemic.  
All of a sudden, life was flipped upside down for those in the younger generation. Their routines were completely changed overnight. They couldn’t go to school, they couldn’t see their friends, and they couldn’t leave their houses. 
Not every child was able to seamlessly transition into the new normal. In fact, many youngsters reported having a hard time coping with attending class over Zoom and being separated from other students. Kids were also scared about the virus itself. For these reasons, it comes as no surprise that the prevalence of depression and anxiety was even higher than normal among this group of kids when COVID-19 set in. 
The good news is that by giving children’s mental health the respect it deserves and taking a proactive stance with treatment, it’s possible to help kids navigate through their issues and end up in a much healthier state of mind because of it. 
When parents prioritize their kids’ mental health and give them the support they need to get past the issues they’re facing, great things happen.  
When kids are in a solid place, they’re able to think clearly, learn new things, and improve their social skills. At the same time, parents’ mental health improves, too, since they benefit from a stronger relationship and can find joy in seeing their kids thrive. 
No matter what issues your child is struggling with, the right therapist can help them. For example, if you and your child aren’t getting along, you may benefit from parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT), which is designed to help kids and parents overcome concerns related to things like ADHD, anxiety disorder, autism, oppositional defiant disorder, and selective mutism, among other conditions. 
Essentially, both parties join forces in PCIT to work through issues together, and these learnings can help guide the relationship forward over the next several years. After somewhere between three and six months, the therapy sessions wrap up, and parents and kids build on their relationship from there. 
Similarly, if a child is working through physical or emotional trauma they’ve experienced, parents might want to look into whether trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) can help them overcome the obstacles they’re facing. 
At a basic level, TF-CBT is a cognitive behavioral treatment that helps children figure out how to overcome trauma, respond to stressful situations, and cope with difficult emotions. They’ll also grow more in tune with their emotions and more able to express their feelings in productive ways. 
By now, you have a better idea about how therapy can help improve children’s mental health. But what if you’re not a therapist — is there anything else you can do? 
While parents, teachers, and caregivers might not be able to give children professional mental health services, they can certainly help anxious kids work through their issues. Here are some ways they can do that. 
Maintain an open dialogue 
First things first: If you’re not talking to the children in your life on a regular basis, how can you possibly expect to know what they’re dealing with and what’s going through their minds?  
One of the easiest ways to help kids deal with mental health problems is by maintaining an open dialogue with them to understand the issues they’re working through. For example, as the pandemic first shut down schools, parents were in a unique position to talk to their kids about the virus and what the experts had to say about it. By being open and honest, parents can help assuage some of their children’s concerns — particularly compared to folks who didn’t have much to say to their kids about the issue. 
Bottom line? By engaging in conversation with your kids every day and knowing more about the issues they’re facing, you can begin to have healthy dialogues that can help kids overcome the challenges they face. 
Recognize the warning signs 
It’s one thing for a child to have a bad day. It’s quite another to have several bad days in a row, with no signs of anything improving anytime soon.  
While parents, teachers, and caregivers aren’t able to provide professional mental health services, they can become familiar with the warning signs that may indicate they are suffering from issues like depression or anxiety. Here are some of the indicators to be aware of: 
•	Lack of appetite 
•	Low motivation 
•	Withdrawal from activities 
•	Fatigue 
•	Worsened school performance 
•	Low self-esteem 
Seek help when it’s needed 
Once you’re familiar with the warning signs to look out for, you’ll know when it’s time to enlist the services of a mental health counselor to help your child or student live a happier, more fulfilling life. 

46 replies
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    Sophia says:

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  4. Monir Vakili
    Monir Vakili says:

    In my opinion, mental health, especially the mental health of children, is neglected in our society. Parents think that if they take their child to therapy, they are sick or crazy, but this is not true. Children need a psychologist to guide them much more than adults. .

  5. mohammad parsa younesi
    mohammad parsa younesi says:

    unfortunately in countries like Iran, mental health is not a priority for people. sometimes children grow in an environment that mental health is neglected and it effects their future.

  6. Mobina Mohammadinia
    Mobina Mohammadinia says:

    Hello, mental health is an important concept that is often neglected in society and family, and the purpose of studying the psychology of children and adolescents is to create a natural model for the lives of children and adolescents. Parents should not be negligent in raising their children and teenagers

  7. Anis Farasat
    Anis Farasat says:

    If the physical health and mental health of children are checked regularly and continuously, if there are any symptoms that indicate a problem in the child’s mental health, they can follow up and fix the problem before it becomes more serious and acute, and in some cases If necessary, see a psychiatrist. But if children’s mental health is not paid attention to, their problems can accompany them in their adulthood and have a great and even destructive effect on their future and adulthood.

  8. Mona mollakazemi
    Mona mollakazemi says:

    Parents also by spending time for children and encouraging them and helping them to think positively and focus on their children’s strengths. They can help them

  9. Rozhan Khajehvandi
    Rozhan Khajehvandi says:

    Having kids is the hardest thing in the world ever. Even from the first day they’re born we have to be careful about how we treat them.
    It was an amazing article and thanks for teaching us how to do it.

  10. parsa younesi
    parsa younesi says:

    unfortunately families dont pay attention to their childrens mental health. families dont let their children to travel and experience. children are not allowed to follow their dreams and interests.

  11. Sara ebadi
    Sara ebadi says:

    Sara ebadi
    If mental health is not taken into account during childhood, it will cause the child to not learn developmental and emotional development, healthy social skills and how to cope with problems. In fact, children with mental health have a positive quality of life and can perform well at home, school and society

  12. Mohadese salimzade
    Mohadese salimzade says:

    The subject of children and the mental health of children and adolescents is very important and has a strong impact on the future and mental health of children. Unfortunately, in our society, not much attention is paid to this issue. These articles help parents a lot to talk to their children. listen to their opinion and value their child’s feelings and thoughts. It is children and adolescents who build the society. If children experience depression at a young age or mental and physical injuries are inflicted on them in childhood, it can turn the child into an individual in adulthood. become unbearable For example, because I like crime stories myself, when I look at the stories of serial killers, I see that they all went crazy because of the misfortune that happened to them in their childhood, and the act of killing actually goes back to the roots of their childhood.

  13. زهرا بابائی
    زهرا بابائی says:

    I wish these articles were more accessible so that all people could read them (of course, I sent them to my aunt, and because she wanted to know about my children, I sent them to people I think would love them).

  14. زهرا بابائی
    زهرا بابائی says:

    I read your article because I have two very young sisters and I would like to help them from a young age to experience a good childhood. Thank you very much, it is very valuable that such words are said

  15. هدیه معصومی
    هدیه معصومی says:

    Parents do not take their children’s problems seriously and do not talk to them about their lives, and then they say why they are depressed or why they do not listen to me and are not comfortable with me. If parents take children’s mental health seriously and talk to them about important issues, children They will be mentally healthier in the future.

  16. Zahra bahram
    Zahra bahram says:

    In general, adults think that children and young people do not have any anxiety or problems and there is no need to go to a psychologist for themselves, if we see that children and young people may suffer from anxiety and depression and suffer a lot of damage, in this case the parents They should pay attention to them and establish healthy relationships with their children and talk to them and talk to them

  17. Sahel nafary
    Sahel nafary says:

    It is children and youths that keep a society and nation alive. And if the mental health of children, adolescents and youths of the country is given proper importance, a good future can be predicted for that country.Families and society usually do not care about children’s psychological damage, and they do not have enough or constructive dialogue, while this same psychological damage in childhood causes greater social damage in adulthood. Parents should seek help from a therapist. Help your child from childhood to reduce the psychological stress and anxiety of the child at an older age.

  18. Zeynb nami
    Zeynb nami says:

    This article helps mothers better understand how to pay attention to their children’s mental health and support them throughout their development. Also, the points mentioned in this article are always a reminder to talk to your children and listen to their opinions.I suggest every parent to read this article and try to implement it in practice.

  19. Zeynb nami
    Zeynb nami says:

    This article helps mothers better understand how to pay attention to their children’s mental health and support them throughout their development. Also, the points mentioned in this article are always a reminder to talk to your children and listen to their opinions. I suggest every parent to read this article and try to implement it in practice.

  20. Davood galedari
    Davood galedari says:

    As mentioned, children’s mental health is very important as it is the basis of their mental health in the future

  21. Armina Armansharif
    Armina Armansharif says:

    In our society, not much attention is paid to mental health, especially in the case of children and adolescents. While the mental health of children and adolescents is very important and shapes them. If we do not pay attention to their mental behavior, they will suffer from disorders such as depression and They become anxious.

  22. chenarani
    chenarani says:

    I myself am one of those who are strongly interested and in favor of trying and searching for mental health. Things that were impossible in my mind and I thought of them as a wish. After several sessions of talking and counseling, I was able to quickly understand how to love myself. And the importance of myself and my true self became a goal for me along the way
    Regarding the mental health of children and adolescents, there is a real need for treatment, for example, a hyperactive child is abandoned and reaches youth and adulthood, and this problem becomes an anomaly for him and the society. Healthy parents and teenagers are very difficult and suffer from tension and lack of mutual understanding. If this problem is not resolved, things may remain in the child’s mind for the rest of his life. If it becomes acute, he may decide to run away from home. Mental health makes life enjoyable and beautiful

  23. fatemeh sarhadi
    fatemeh sarhadi says:

    Let’s remember that correct upbringing requires consistency in dealing with our children. Let us adhere to any law we have established. Instability and irregularity in dealing with children and teenagers threatens their peace and mental security.

  24. fatemeh sarhadi
    fatemeh sarhadi says:

    The natural pattern of child and adolescent growth at different age stages has specific principles and rules, and parents’ awareness of the principles of child and adolescent psychology is very important.

  25. fatemeh sarhadi
    fatemeh sarhadi says:

    The purpose of studying the psychology of children and adolescents is to determine a natural pattern for the life of children and adolescents, and by this means we can identify deviations, problems and misbehavior, and know our responsibilities and duties.

  26. fatemeh sarhadi
    fatemeh sarhadi says:

    Understanding the child’s normal and abnormal behavior patterns helps parents to communicate better, teach them better to manage their emotions, and help their child’s progress in different stages of life.

  27. fatemeh sarhadi
    fatemeh sarhadi says:

    One of the most important factors that every parent should follow is to have good pediatrics. Of course, by raising a child, you can see different aspects of his personality

  28. Khadijehsedaghat
    Khadijehsedaghat says:

    Dear Dr
    Considering that the age of adolescence and youth is very sensitive, we as parents should be friends with our children so that they can honestly share with us the important issues that they are facing and do not suffer from psychological problems in the future.
    Thank you for your useful article

  29. Anahita Bahreman
    Anahita Bahreman says:

    Sometimes by neglecting a series of characteristics and thinking that children and teenagers do not have the problems and conflicts of adults and are far from mental disorders and diseases, it causes problems in their adulthood.

  30. Zahra choopanbishe
    Zahra choopanbishe says:

    One of the most important periods is childhood
    If someone does not spend his childhood well, in my opinion, he cannot create a very good and bright future for himself
    Because when there is a fundamental problem, the root problem must be solved first so that a person can have a correct and effective relationship with the world around him.
    For example, if a child is aggressive, he will definitely face many more problems as an adult…

  31. Niloofar Nikooie
    Niloofar Nikooie says:

    Dr. Malihi,
    Thank you for sharing the article. Having parents taking part in their children mental wellbeing projects is a brilliant idea!

  32. Kobra bazdar
    Kobra bazdar says:

    My understanding of this scientific article is that we should pay attention to the mental health of our children before our own health. We may think that children do not need therapy, which is very wrong. In the pandemic of Corona, many children suffer from mental health problems. I hope we will see more articles about children’s mental health from you professor.

  33. Elika Khodadi
    Elika Khodadi says:

    Hi Professor
    This article was very practical, useful and tangible.
    At the time of Corona, I had my final high school exams and I remember those last two months I endured a lot of mental pressure and anxiety, so that it had a bad effect even when I was sleeping.
    I believe that not only in schools and educational environments, but also in normal life, every family should have their own expert and personal psychologist who can monitor the quality of life and mental health of each member of the family from afar and guide them if necessary.

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  34. Elika Khodadi
    Elika Khodadi says:

    Hi Professor
    This article was very practical, useful and tangible.
    At the time of Corona, I had my final high school exams and I remember those last two months I endured a lot of mental pressure and anxiety, so that it had a bad effect even when I was sleeping.
    I believe that not only in schools and educational environments, but also in normal life, every family should have their own expert and personal psychologist who can monitor the quality of life and mental health of each member of the family from afar and guide them if necessary.

  35. Soudabeh Ashoori
    Soudabeh Ashoori says:

    my dearest:
    Hi Professor
    I am Soudabeh Ashoori
    I completely agree with you
    Children’s mental health is often neglected.
    But professor, according to the current conditions of life, none of the family members have mental health.
    The hard living conditions put pressure on the soul and spirit of parents.
    This problem makes us unable to properly care for the child’s psyche
    I hope that the day will come when all the children of my land will live in peace.

  36. Masoumeh Ashoury
    Masoumeh Ashoury says:

    Mental health affects the way people think, feel and act. Taking care of our mental health is as important as having a healthy body. Parents, by spending time with their child, talking to him about his friends, teachers and the activities he does at school, encouraging him, avoiding comparing him with others, Focusing on its strengths, encouraging physical activity, reducing stress together, encouraging the child to do enjoyable work to forget his problems and calm down, being a positive role model, etc. can help their child’s mental health.

  37. Marzieh
    Marzieh says:

    It was an excellent insight into the importance of mental health for children and the critical role that parents and caregivers play in supporting their well-being.I belive besides to providing a positive home environment and emotional support, the parents and caregivers should be familiar with signs of mental illness, so they will be able to take action by seeking for professional help when necessary.

  38. nasrin shojaee
    nasrin shojaee says:

    Child’s mental health is an important issue that every parent should pay attention to and consult with a consultant in this field. Because Children’s mental health will have a direct impact on their future lives.

  39. Azadeh shokri
    Azadeh shokri says:

    Hi professor
    In my opinion In order to begin the treatment of depression in the first it is necessary to have a precise diagnosis since no reliable testing of depression is required by a psychiatrist physical examination and psychological evaluation by a psychiatrist

  40. Hasti Razzazchian
    Hasti Razzazchian says:

    It was an eye opening article as in general in middle eastern countries still having a counseling has not been considered as a normal thing in life, paying attention to the kids feelings can enable us to combat with any unpredictable situation such as Covid, with a better and standard approach in order not to see any negative outcome in their future life.

  41. Mohadeseh khan mirzaie
    Mohadeseh khan mirzaie says:

    In my opinion, exercising is one of the effective ways to improve children’s mental health. When children are physically active, it reduces the stress hormone cortisol and releases endorphins. These chemicals naturally improve mental health conditions in children and can protect against depression, anxiety and other mental disorders.
    In general, there is a feeling of support and nurturing and community support for children and teenagers with group sports. They have peers and adults around them who can support them. Team rituals create a sense of belonging, which is good for reducing stress and boosting self-esteem.
    Participating in group sports helps children prepare for life experiences and is beneficial for their mental health.

  42. mahnaz nouruzi
    mahnaz nouruzi says:

    hi dear professor
    in my opinion Guidance and counseling for children is important. Schools play a very important role. Good behavior is appreciated, but sometimes teenage minds need guidance to shape their character. Through counseling, teenagers are given advice on how to manage and deal with emotional conflicts and problems of puberty to get through this critical period.

    Quality counseling in schools helps embed valuable lessons in their daily lives. Some counseling sessions should include career guidance in which students are explained about choosing different majors and career paths. It is important to prepare them for life after school and what to expect in the various fields they may choose
    i read that in iran One hour of counseling is done for every 15 students per week, in other words, there is one counselor for every 350 students, which requires 30,000 counselors to implement this comprehensive guidance and counseling system.
    good luck

  43. Shirin farrokh
    Shirin farrokh says:

    How sad it is that after COVID-19 pandemic
    I saw these symptoms in my daughter🤦‍♀️
    • lack of appetite
    • Low motivation
    • Withdrawal from activities
    • Fatigue
    • Deterioration of school performance
    • Low self-esteem
    And worse than that, the unprofessional behavior of teachers in dealing with this problem

    • Maryam farajkhah
      Maryam farajkhah says:

      Hi professor l think the role of school is extremely vital and important that the presence of a counselor in the school is an important necessity and that children’s mental and emotional issues should be given importance surly the problems will be reduced


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