How to promote mental health in children
An overweight young boy, Bobby, was being teased and physically abused by his friends. He was also reluctant to play with others and often used to act aggressively at school. As a result, he had withdrawn socially and became depressed. This contributed to his poor health and poorer mental health.
Mental health is an essential part of children’s overall health. It refers to the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development of a child. It is essential that a child develop a healthy relationship with food and decrease stress and anxiety related to food for their future health. The Children with an unhealthy diet may face mental health challenges and disorders later in life. According to the National Mental Health survey, at least 13.7 percent of India’s general population has various mental disorders. These problems are treatable. A child may face a range of mental health problems:
1. Anxiety disorder
2. ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder).
3. Autism Spectrum Disorder
4. Eating Disorder
5. Mood Disorder
A child’s food intake affects their mood, behavior and brain function. Different nutrients affect the level of a chemical in the brain which influences the mood, sleeping pattern, and thinking of the child. Deficiencies or excess of these nutrients may also affect the brain functioning. A well-rounded diet plays an integral part in the overall health of a child. Including items from all food groups- carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamin and minerals in adequate quantity provides essential nutrients for brain health. These essential nutrients include folate, vitamin B12, vitamin, and omega3 fatty acid. They help to improve mental health conditions in a child, like ADHD, anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder.
As children spend more awake hours at school than they do at home. Schools play an important role in monitoring and reducing mental health problems in children. Few ways in which schools can help:
Integrating Mental Health into School Curriculum:
Where the teacher and students can have an open discussion about mental health. This will help to reduce the stigma around the issue and help to create a better understanding and knowledge of the child’s psychology behavior.
Offer Bullying Free Environment:
By providing a better place in a school with no bullying incidents, children feel safe. Also, they feel a sense of belonging, when they have a good rapport with their teacher, and where they feel listened to when they raise their concerns.
Treat Children Equally:
School staff members play an important role in improving the school environment by treating all the students equally, including those who are already experiencing mental health difficulties. This will help children to work through their emotional struggles.
Ensure a Well-Trained Staff
Well trained staff in a child’s psychological behavior will help them to identify the issue early. They will be more confident in understanding the mental health challenges of the students and help them when they are in need. This will have a positive impact on students.
We are what we eat. Hence, by encouraging our child to eat a nutritious diet will help them cope with stress, and manage their emotions better. Carengrow’s preventive health care system facilitates healthy eating habits in kids that helps to improve their mental health, assuring health and happiness for our children.