Mental Health refers to how a person feels about themselves and others around them including relating to them at an emotional level. Our mental health is not a fixed state and changes depending on what goes on in our life so it also involves how we deal with daily ups and downs. Being mentally healthy is also about having the confidence to face challenges, take decisions and believe in ourselves. This year the focus of the World Mental Health Day has been on young people and how mental health is important in a changing world.
Times are a-changing and young people especially kids in their early teens have it hard these days. It may seem like they have a lot more than they can possibly ask for; but the 21st century does present with its own set of new age stressors that can take a toll on young impressionable minds.
For instance we do know that the number of children dealing with anxiety has been increasing steadily since the past 2 decades and many find it hard to cope. It can be a frightening time really, to be a parent as we hear tragic cases in the media, about young people committing suicide or making impulsive choices. And that’s why it is so important to know about and invest in building good mental health from a young age; just like we do for physical health.
We all have mental health needs and it’s time to start addressing them like we do for physical problems. Despite the social myths/misconceptions that might hold you back from reaching out to a mental health specialist; I urge parents to trust their gut instinct more than ever. If there’s some reason you have been worried about a child/adolescent that you know, allow that gut feeling to guide you. Reach out to that young person, ask them, talk about it. Please don’t make it the proverbial elephant in the room.