As I stated in my most recent Instagram video, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And it just so happens that this week is Children’s Mental Health Awareness week. It’s actually kind of perfect that Children’s Mental Health Awareness is the lead in for this month’s cause, because Mental Illness and Mental Health is just as important for children as it is for adults. Believe it not, children who have their mental health neglected and who suffer from mental illness grow to become adults who continue to neglect their mental health.
Children are very impressionable and things they learn in early years help shape how they view the world. For instance, as child I was always told that crying and showing any emotion were not things a boy should do. So at an early age, I learned how to suck it up and push my emotions and feelings aside in attempts to man up. This was the more socially acceptable way for a male to carry himself, so that’s what I did.
On another note, growing up, I would often say, “I’m stressed out,” and adults would respond “You have nothing to stress about…you don’t have any bills, limited responsibilities, and you have things that your parents didn’t have.” That was true, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t experience stress on a daily basis. No matter how small it seemed to someone else, it was major to me. So like I said…I was stressed out LOL.
So as adults, it’s so important that we don’t dismiss the mental health of children just because we feel that they don’t have a care in the world. That is far from the truth. Beyond being aware of stressors, like school, friends and organizations, that can lead to a decrease in the mental health of children, it’s important to remember that mental illness is not limited to a certain age.We need to be able to recognize potential issues with children and get them the help \ they need. This includes LISTENING to them, TEACHING them how to communicate their emotions and feelings, and INFORMING them that they are not alone when they have a problem.
What are your thoughts on society’s emphasis on mental health for children? What can we do to make it better? What methods do you use to ensure you are paying attention to a child’s mental health? Comment below.