5 hidden signs your child's mental health is declining and immediate steps to take | Health - Hindustan Times
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5 hidden signs your child's mental health is declining and immediate steps to take

By, New Delhi
May 21, 2024 12:23 PM IST

Parents need to stay connected with the inner lives of their children and not dismiss the telltale signs of mental health issues as "tantrums".

Children aren't less expressive than adults, yet their way of communicating their troubles and challenges may be different. Many times, they may lack the vocabulary to talk about how they are feeling. There may be subtle signs of the discomfort they are undergoing in the form of sudden changes in their behaviour like irritability, not doing things they love, problems in focusing, meltdowns or even physical symptoms like tummy ache or headache. (Also read: How strict parenting can impact children negatively? Experts share insights)

 Watch out for sudden changes in your child's behaviour, such as increased irritability, mood swings, or withdrawal from social activities. (Freepik)
Watch out for sudden changes in your child's behaviour, such as increased irritability, mood swings, or withdrawal from social activities. (Freepik)

Parents need to stay connected with the inner lives of their children and not dismiss the telltale signs of mental health issues as "tantrums". One must allocate time to talk to their child and give them space to openly express their emotions and feelings at any given point of time.

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"Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, while some signs of mental health issues in children may be obvious, others can be subtle and easily overlooked. Recognising these hidden signs early on is essential for providing timely support and intervention. Being proactive in recognising and addressing hidden signs of deteriorating mental health in children is crucial for promoting their well-being and resilience," says Neeraj Kumar, Emotional Wellbeing Coach & Founder, PeakMind.

HIDDEN SIGNS OF YOUR CHILD'S DECLINING MENTAL HEALTH

Kumar elaborates on five hidden signs of your child's deteriorating mental health and immediate steps to take:

1. Changes in behaviour: Watch out for sudden changes in your child's behaviour, such as increased irritability, mood swings, or withdrawal from social activities. These changes may indicate underlying emotional distress or mental health concerns. Initiate open and non-judgmental conversations with your child to understand their feelings and experiences. Encourage them to express themselves freely and seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor if needed.

2. Difficulty concentrating: Notice if your child struggles to focus or concentrate on tasks that they previously managed well. Persistent difficulty concentrating may be a sign of anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. To address this, create a supportive environment for your child by minimizing distractions and providing structured routines. Encourage breaks and relaxation techniques to help them manage stress and improve concentration.

3. Changes in sleep patterns: Pay attention to any significant changes in your child's sleep patterns, such as difficulty falling asleep, frequent nightmares, or excessive sleeping. Disrupted sleep can indicate underlying emotional turmoil or anxiety. Establish a consistent bedtime routine and create a calming sleep environment for your child. Encourage relaxation activities before bed and limit screen time to promote better sleep hygiene. If sleep problems persist, consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation.

4. Physical symptoms: Be aware of any unexplained physical symptoms or complaints, such as headaches, stomach aches, or fatigue. While these symptoms may have various causes, they can also be manifestations of underlying mental health issues. Schedule a thorough medical evaluation to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Simultaneously, validate your child's experiences and emotions, reassuring them that it's okay to seek help for mental health concerns.

5. Changes in academic performance: Monitor your child's academic performance for sudden declines or changes in motivation and engagement. Poor academic performance can be a sign of underlying stress, anxiety, or depression. Communicate with your child's teachers to gain insights into their academic challenges and seek additional support or resources as needed.

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