The stresses children have to deal with today have increased enormously in recent years
Mental health issues are becoming more prevalent in today’s world. This is even truer for children and teenagers. Anxiety and depression in children and teenagers has been steadily rising for the last fifty years. According to some estimates, five to eight times as many school and college students meet the criteria for diagnosis of major depression or anxiety disorder as was true half a century or more ago.
Dealing with the symptoms of anxiety or depression can have a huge impact on children and their families. For the children themselves their quality of life can be severely limited. They may no longer be able to enjoy the things they should be enjoying; school, friends, sports, family time or simply being a kid. For the parents and other siblings the impact can be detrimental as well. The other children can feel sidelined as their sibling gets extra much needed attention, they may start acting out or withdrawing. The parents’ own relationship can be put under strain dealing with a child who needs more time and attention when time is already at a premium; and sometimes trying to figure out how to deal with the anxiety or depression can cause added strain as mum and dad often have differing viewpoints. I read somewhere that as a parent you are only as happy as your unhappiest child, while this may not always be true I think for the most part it is, especially if you have a child suffering from anxiety or depression. All these things combined can lead to an unhappy family life.
Why is this happening?
The reasons for the increase in mental health issues are varied. One way to think of anxiety levels is to add up all the daily stresses we have to deal with and subtract the ways we have to cope with them, the difference is our anxiety level.
Exercise: The benefits of exercise on mental health are well documented, any level of activity helps, and it has a knock on effect, the more you do the better you feel so the more you feel like doing; even something small like walking or cycling to school a few days a week can make a big difference.
Sleep: Good sleep is key to good mental health; though sometimes bedtime is when anxieties can increase, especially in children. Rubbing lavender oil (diluted in a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil) into their feet at bedtime can relax children so they can sleep more soundly.
Increasing the time kids have to play or just hang out can have massive benefits, this gives children time to just be themselves, to think things through and to learn from what has been going on in their lives, having the time to stop and think and be bored rather than constantly running from activity to activity improves children’s mental health.
To help children offload their worries and anxieties it can sometimes be useful for them to write or draw the worries and put them into a special bag, pillow case or bin. By doing this they feel like the worries are gone from their minds. There is a toy designed for this called a Worry Eater, it can be bought at www.cogsthebrainshop.ie.
Anxiety and depression are on the rise and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by statistics and studies. But there are lots of things we as parents and care givers can do to help our kids and get them on the path to good mental health for now and for their future. Homeopathic treatment is one of these things, it rebalances a person, strengthening them from within and giving them the tools and the ability to deal with whatever life throws at them."
Written by Emma Almond a mother of 2 and a licensed homeopath living and working in Dublin; she runs her practice Almond Homeopathy from her clinic in Knocklyon and via Skype. She discovered homeopathy when looking for an alternative approach to dealing with her post natal depression. Emma uses homeopathic remedies on a daily basis for herself, her children and in her practice. Emma loves chocolate, running and reading. She runs almost daily and loves the mental and physical benefits she gets from it; after a long run she loves nothing more than sitting down with a good book, a cup of tea and a bit of chocolate!