Taking care of children’s mental health
We are observing a gradual return to something that could be called ‘normal’ after so many significant changes in our lives since 2019. Such changes have affected absolutely everyone, in different ways and levels of impact. However, children are probably the ones who suffered the most, facing for the first time the effects of social isolation, dependence on technology for simple human interaction with friends, school staff and even some family members.
The pandemics restrictions have certainly impacted their mental health, making parents in need of closely observe their children and make sure they can recover from the negative aspect of these changes, while preparing them for future challenges in their adulthood. We have listed below some important tips to help protect and strengthen children’s mental health:
- Be aware of the most common symptoms of mental health issues in order to initiate a friendly approach and check if everything is ok. Among the many possible symptoms, the most common ones are the following:
- Change in appetite or eating habits
- Demonstrations of fear, anxiety, sadness or anger
- Difficulty to sleep or to go to bed
- Low energy
- Persistent negative thoughts
- Trouble with concentration
- Withdrawal from friends, family or favourite activities
- Create a sense of belonging at home and at school, building strong bonds among students, school staff and parents through honest and open communication about emotions and feelings. It’s fundamental for children to know that they are loved and supported.
- Define a clear routine with school and home activities, including not only to-do things but also the leisure and relaxation times.
- Develop competencies, including social skills, problem-solving and conflict resolution for children to feel confident in face of challenges and stress.
- Educate school staff, parents and children about mental issues symptoms in order to fight stigma and allow early response.
- Encourage good physical health through good eating habits, regular physical exercise and adequate sleep.
- Ensure a positive, safe school environment based on respect, responsibility and kindness.
- Establish a crisis response team at school, including relevant administrators, security personnel and mental health professionals, as well as the inclusion of programs related to mental health prevention, intervention and postvention.
- Facilitate access and partnership among mental health supports such as school psychologists, counsellors and social workers.
- Foster resilience through activities and conversations that approach connectedness, competency, helping others and facing adversities.
- Model healthy coping skills at home or at school, with relaxing activities such as deep breathing, using stress balls, making any kind or art or going for walks, among other options.
As a provider of many healthcare services, Speakable remains ready to provide any support to children, parents, schools and other allied health professionals towards the best of our children in physical and mental health. In case of any needed help, please contact us!