Mental health is just as important as physical health. Unfortunately though, while physical health is widely acknowledged and many provisions are present to treat it, mental health is seen as a stigma and ignored and banished many a time. This is a very dangerous thing to do as maintaining a child’s mental health is absolutely vital. A child who grows up with a good mental health becomes a good citizen and contributes well to society.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT MENTAL HEALTH IN YOUTH
Youth, the time between childhood and maturity, is a confusing and difficult time for most people. With changes happening inside the body and many changes happening around, a young person finds it difficult to cope. The emotions are displaced and rebellions are commonly seen. It is important for the parents, teachers and other caregivers to be very sensitive towards the young person at this time. Understanding his problems, recognising them and helping him sort them out are necessary steps that must be taken. The atmosphere around the youth must also be conducive and pleasant. Some of the common factors that impact a young person’s mental health are:
- Improper, unbalanced diet habits
- Peer pressure
- Disjointed families
- Education stress
- Bodily struggles
- Lack of physical activities
- Improper parental guidance
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Substance abuse
All these factors have a negative impact on the youth’s mental health.
MEASURES TO IMPROVE THE MENTAL HEALTH OF THE YOUTH
As a caregiver, it is your responsibility to ensure your ward is mentally healthy. Here are some measures you can take to ensure this:
1. Talk to the youth.
The youth of today are so confused and rebellious mainly because they do not have adequate guidance around them. So as the responsible elder, speak to the youngster from time to time. It may be a casual conversation about their day-to-day life or it may be a more serious and informative talk about a serious social or health issue.
2. Keep the atmosphere peaceful.
Parents quarrelling, deaths in the family, separation, etc. are some reasons why the mental health of the youth is disturbed. Lindsey Lohan, the Hollywood actress who famously had a troubled youth, saw a lot of fights in the family while growing up. She said,
“It was depressing. I was being pulled in different directions all the time and never had time to just sit and relax. Therapy helped.” If you feel your child is disturbed in a similar manner, speak to him or take him to a professional counselor.
3. Accept the youth for who they are.
Stress from different quarters often has a damaging impact on the mental health of the youth. Parents expect them to do well in school and their friends except them to be cool and popular. Sadly, not everyone can live up to these expectations. Accept your child for who he is and acknowledge his shortcomings. This will help him deal with his own shortcomings in a more positive and confident manner.
Mental health of the youth is a very important concern that cannot be neglected at any cost. Today’s youth will grow up to be tomorrow’s leaders and we need them to be mentally fit to be able social managers. So if you see any warning signs of a failing mental health in your child or any youngster around you, take action promptly. And always remember that mental health is not a stigma. It is similar to a person’s physical health and can be treated with the right kind of care.