Childhood and adolescence are critical periods to promote mental health, as more than half of mental health problems start at these stages and many of these persist throughout adult life. Currently, this has become a priority as worldwide data shows an increase in the prevalence of mental health issues in childhood & adolescence and the percentage of those affected reaching nearly 20% (WHO, 2016).
Good mental health is an essential part of healthy adolescent development. It helps young people build positive social circle, emotional thinking and communication skills and behaviours. It also lays the foundation for better mental health and wellbeing in life.
The following warning signs would be helpful in seeking professional help:
- Delay in milestones
- Staying aloof/withdrawn
- Difficulty in completing task in hand
- Trying to harm self or making plans to do so or reporting wish to die
- Expressing fear without reason
- Anger or aggression or unpredictable anger outburst
- Change in pattern of eating or change in sleep pattern
- Sudden change in behaviour or personality
- School refusal or a sudden decline in academics
- Use of drugs or alcohol
- For disability certification
- Recurrent complains of pains and aches
- Hyperactivity (constantly on move)
- Self destructive behaviour
- Hostility towards authoritative figures, burglaries, truancy and/ or property damage.
- Constant “bad” dreams (nightmares or night terrors)
- Depression ( chronic mood swings, a negative attitude, lack of appetite or insomnia)
- Child feels hard to keep or make friends
- Issues relating to psychosexual development