Welcome to the blog for Free Your Mind mental health anti-stigma campaign

This is the blog for the Free Your Mind campaign which aims to battle stigma towards mental illness through the use of music, art, film, and culture.
The blog consists of informative and, hopefully, entertaining articles/posts.
Enjoy! :-)

Friday, 5 November 2010

Children and Mental Illness

I have been mentally ill for as long as I can remember, and that includes as a child. Approximately 10% of children and young people aged 5-15 years old have a mental health problem and a small percentage will have a severe mental illness.

If you are worried about your child's mental health,it is important to contact your GP. The following is a list of signs which may be displayed in a child or young person with a mental illness:

  • Decline in performance at school
  • They receive poor grades despite strong efforts
  • They repeatedly refuse to go to school
  • They regularly worry or feel stressed
  • They suffer from persistent nightmares
  • Hyperactivity and fidgeting
  • Persistent disobedience and aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Depression
  • They get sad or irritable.
You must remember that everyday stresses can cause changes in a child's behaviour, and it is not only important to recognise such behavioural changes, but also to differentiate them from signs of a mental health disorder.

Medication affects young children differently from older children or adults because their brains are in a state of very rapid development. However, if left untreated, serious mental illnesses themselves can negatively impact on brain development. At the same time, even if a young child is diagnosed with a mental illness, it does not necessarily mean medications have to be used.

As a child I showed most, if not all, of the warning signs of a mental health problem. And it is not surprising when you consider the fact that 1 in 5 children have a mental illness (which is 1 in 4 in terms of adults). So if you feel your child may be mentally ill, contact your GP as soon as possible!

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