Mental health crisis arises when a child is reaching developmental and emotional milestones. But when a child goes through emotional or behavioural problems, they need help. You might get advice to wait-he/she’ll grow out of it. Sometimes this helps, sometimes won’t.
It can be difficult to differentiate between challenging behaviours in a child and the usual change during the developmental stage. Notice child showing negative changes and talking about harming himself due to distress at home, school or in a peer group is an unsafe behaviour that needs attention. But due to stigma around mental health, many parents may not disclose the concern to a counsellor or pay attention by themselves. This will harm the child and continue to have this issue in their adulthood too. In this situation, you as a parent can help your child by being a “Mental health first-aider”
Firstly, notice signs and symptoms that your child may be experiencing then be a good listener by striking up a normal conversation may be about the day/work. Listening to your child’s thoughts and concerns without being judgemental will help. Do not try to give them advice/ideas to cope up with the issue. A lot of time we as parents start fixing their problems. This will not help in the long run. Let them think about solutions by themselves. By building trust in your child emotionally every parent can be a mental health first-aider.
All you need is to listen non-judgmentally. But, seek professional help whenever required.
Saffoora khan, Counsellor,
Health and Wellness Department
Delhi Public School, Mahendra Hills.
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