World Mental Health Day was last week, so now is a good time to reflect on how key the issue of mental health is for youth. Anxiety and depression can affect anyone at any time of their life, and some people need extra support and love to cope with these issues.
It is important to know how depression may look in children in order make sure they get the help they need. Prolonged lows, compulsive behavior, frequent physical pains or aches, and trouble sleeping are all signs indicating that a child may be dealing with depression and/or anxiety. Some loved ones of depressed adolescents decide to let these problems linger without treatment so they will “go away on their own”. However, understanding and support are key to assure the child can cope and the issues do not become more entrenched. Catching an issue early and getting help from a professional is often the better course of action.
Another important set of symptoms to look for in children are signs of panic attacks. Symptoms often include an intense dread accompanied with physical symptoms of hyperventilation, chest pain, nausea, sweating, and fast heart rate. Some children may describe it as feeling like something terrible is happening, but that they have trouble articulating what is wrong. Similar to depression, a child with this issue requires support. The child should be monitored and calmed so they can breath properly and return to a baseline state. It must be remembered that one should never dismiss the sufferer’s feelings when it comes to panic attacks. Understanding is key to helping a child through this issue.
Youth and adolescents can also benefit from sharing with one another. There is oftentimes a stigma felt by those suffering from mental health issues, and they feel they must suffer quietly on their own. However, young people with similar issues may benefit more from sharing their struggles. It puts less emphasis on the stigma of having an “illness” and lets them see that they are not alone in dealing with these issues. Some areas of country are incorporating programs addressing this, and focusing on empathy and mental wellness appears to be an approach worth pursuing.
No one should feel like they must suffer quietly when it comes to mental health issues. Youth can certainly learn how to better to cope with depression and anxiety, provided they receive the help and understanding they need.