Every conscientious parent is concerned about ensuring they provide their children with the best of care and resources they can afford. But when it comes to mental health problems, most parents cannot recognize and cater to their child’s needs mostly because, despite societal awareness programs, health issues of such a character are still stigmatized. Mental health specialists have shown that if learning disabilities And or social, psychological and behavioural problems are diagnosed at a young age, it is advisable for the child’s future, and for the society at large. Children who suffer from these problems are likely to fall into depression, drop out from college, be inclined towards substance abuse or become juvenile delinquents.
If they are not provided medical or assistance therapy at a young age this could lead to illiteracy, violence, family breakdowns and unemployment in the future. The first step towards providing better assistance and attention to all mental health patients irrespective of age would be to eliminate the stigma of talking such test of mental age. It needs to be promoted through every possible stage that people who have any condition which affects their mind are only as smart as any other person. The truth is sometimes, children and adults with learning disabilities might actually be more creative and intelligent than the average individual.
Moreover, it should become common knowledge that a mental disability is nothing worse than a physical handicap and that individuals with such an ailment are by no means unfit for society. This is true particularly, if they are given timely care, medication and counselling or therapy. Reducing the stigma will make it easier for parents of these children to talk about their concerns if they believe their child may have a mental illness. Additionally if a parent is approached with a secondary caregiver e.g. teacher, baby sitter, day care centre supervisor etc who might have grounds to believe that the child is not developing normally, it is going to be easier for the parents to take the harsh reality in addition to openly speak about their concerns.
Early intervention is a way to reach out to particular children by providing counselling to parents at a single level, in addition to addressing the community at large, through social marketing efforts in addition to school based programs. It involves family therapy, parent counselling and parent-child interventions. For situations where it is established that a child is indeed suffering from an illness of the mind, in-home counselling support is also an alternative. Special measures should be taken in situations where a child has gone through a traumatic experience, such as abuse or abuse or has witnessed frequent domestic violence or an incident of terrorism. Children from broken families will need to be given special attention lest they create stress related disorders. For this purpose many organizations have set up help lines, so as individuals may easily have access to advice from qualified mental health experts.