Even while the public conversation on mental health has progressed significantly, persons who suffer from mental illnesses still face a great deal of stigma. For many of us, mental health remains a taboo subject, causing individuals who are suffering alone in silence to put off seeking therapy. However, as the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, pushing the mental health conversation into the open has never been more vital than it is now.
Mental illness knows no bounds when it comes to age: it can afflict the very young, the very old, and everyone in between. It has a greater impact on people’s lives and occurs more frequently than we might assume. This means that, while we definitely wish that our children will always be carefree and joyful, we must also be prepared to provide them with appropriate love and support whenever the need arises.
How do parents go about doing this? Here are three ways you may assist your child in managing his or her mental health so that he or she can gain confidence and build resilience while they go about their daily activities.
1) Pay attention as you listen to them
Always try to listen, observe, and comprehend your child on his or her own terms, rather than judging him or her on yours. Due to the stigma associated with mental health difficulties, most parents are likely to be either unaware of the issue or, worse, to draw incorrect and harmful assumptions about their children’s behavior. A teen who completely refuses to get out of bed for school every morning, for example, may be suffering from something more serious than a rebellious streak or a lack of motivation. Is there a reason he or she is avoiding school? Is he or she able to get out of bed for other things?
Is it true that he or she has control over the behavior? Is this something that has been going on for a long time? When a child begins behaving out in a self-destructive manner, it can be terrifying and perplexing for parents, but keep in mind that your child is probably even more terrified and perplexed than you are.
He or she needs your unconditional love and support more than ever at this time. Reach out to him or her, accept that discussing mental health issues might be tough, but promise your child that you will always be available to listen. Make it clear to your child that their feelings are always important to you.
2) Educate yourself
You should also educate yourself on prevalent mental diseases that affect youth, their symptoms, and what it’s like to live with them in order to best aid your child. While you can certainly seek help from a mental health professional, the issue with this approach is that it is reactive rather than proactive.
Consider this: the more you know about mental health and illnesses now, the more likely you are to recognize warning signs and take proper action.
There are numerous useful resources online that can shed light on what you and your child are going through and make both of you feel less alone, all of which are just a Google search away. Learn to distinguish between hard facts by cross-checking the list of depression symptoms across various sources, just like everything else you read on the Internet. Someone else’s Reddit experience might not be reflective of yours or your child’s.
It’s critical for parents to keep an open mind as they learn more about mental health issues; there are over 200 different types of mental disorders, many more combinations in which they can occur, and even more ways mental disorders can manifest in people with different personalities and life circumstances. It can be difficult to identify where a mental illness ends and a person’s personality begins, which is another reason why parents should approach the subject of mental health with compassion and respect.
3) Be willing to seek additional assistance
Be willing to seek help if necessary. When a child is coping with mental health concerns, there is only so much assistance and understanding that parents can provide without the help of a mental health expert.
Psychiatrists (who diagnose patients and provide medicine) and psychologists (who teach patients coping skills) make up a strong pillar of Singapore’s medical care system, and parents should seek them out.
While both parents and children have qualms about being diagnosed and being labelled as “someone with mental health issues” on official records, the alternative is considerably worse. Early intervention can make all the difference in helping children and teenagers get back on track and reach their full potential.
Parents who are eager to learn more about mental illness will be better able to support their children as they cope and recover.
Towards a More Comprehensive Understanding of Mental Illness
Mental illness is a difficult and delicate subject to deal with. A lack of understanding can set off a chain reaction of bad decisions, sour the parent-child bond, and cause unnecessary handwringing and sadness. However, the converse is also true: being well-informed on mental health allows parents and guardians to make better judgement calls and decisions for their children at every stage of the route.
Academic Excellence Isn’t Everything
We recognize and respect that each of our students learns at his or her own pace and in his or her own unique way. That is why our teachers collaborate closely with our parents to ensure that each student receives the appropriate level of assistance and supervision to help them succeed and excel.
Our in-house curriculum professionals also work hard to curate educational resources that are relevant to their schoolwork and beyond, while nurturing their interests and passion, ensuring that they are prepared for success on their own terms.