Mental Health in Children and Adolescents – It’s Time We Talk & Speak Up!

August 4, 2019 Posted by: Kidzapp Health & Nutrition

Mental Health often suggests different thoughts and perceptions.  Some people don’t understand what it is, and some people are simply too embarrassed or afraid to talk about it.

Yet, we all have it: we all have mental health, and some of us have mental health problems, including our children. Now is the time to Speak up!

Something very important to realise is that mental illness does not discriminate; it affects people of all ages, genders, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds.  We all have mental health, and respectfully, no matter who you are – we are all at risk of developing a mental health problem.

The World Health Organization for example estimates that 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health problem; this equates to approximately 10% of adults, and 20% of children and young people globally. The estimated prevalence rates of mental illness in children and young people are worryingly increasing, and conditions such as Anxiety Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Depressive Disorders and Eating Disorders are on the rise.  Yet despite the increase, we still don’t really talk about mental health, we still don’t always speak up. It’s imperative that we change this.

It is evident that early intervention and early detection of mental illness results in improved outcomes for the child or young person who has a mental health condition.  Thus, reducing the stigma of speaking up and talking about mental health is one way of ensuring that early intervention and early detection can be provided. If you are worried about your child’s mental health, then speak up!

Al Jalila Children’s Hospital. Offers specialist including assistance, support, assessment and treatment from trained mental health professionals who have the experience, knowledge and skills to work with children and families.   If intervention is needed, this is mostly offered as an outpatient (i.e. your child visits the hospital for assessment and treatment), yet sometimes, children may need to be admitted to a specialist child and adolescent mental health inpatient ward which we fortunately have here at Al Jalila Children’s Hospital.

Sadly, stereotypical views of mental health services still do exist – for example, people imagine padded cells or patients strapped to beds in cold, dark rooms (just like in the movies!) – but this is far from the truth.  Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have developed dramatically, especially here in Dubai.  Child friendly, therapeutic and modern facilities are available, which can offer intervention from specialist child and adolescent mental health professionals, including Psychiatrists, Mental Health Nurses, Psychologists and Play Therapists (including many other disciplines).

Together, we can improve mental health of the children and young people within the United Arab Emirates.  Let’s start talking about mental health and let’s speak up TODAY!

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