Mental health issues encompass a wide range of mental and emotional problems that can be found in people of any age, race, religion, nationality, and location. While a diagnosis of mental health issues is generally done in adulthood, children can also be diagnosed with mental health issues at almost any age. And although it can be difficult to know how to work with or care for a child with certain mental health issues, they need just as much love and attention as any other child. So to help you on your journey of caring for or teaching one of these children, here are three tips for working with a child with mental health issues.
Know The Signs Of Mental Health Problems
Recognizing the signs or symptoms of mental health issues in a child can be very hard to do. The difficulty in this task is due to the fact that children develop at different paces. Not every 6-year-old will be functioning the same way, mentally or physically. Therefore, a diagnosis of a mental illness in a child is usually done after a lengthy period of observation. Some of the actions or signs you may want to be on the lookout for, according to MentalHealthAmerica.net, are floundering at school, anxiety or worry, hyperactivity, frequent nightmares, a disobedient attitude, having a short fuse, or unexplained sadness. If you’ve noticed these signs in a child and they become worrisome to you, consider seeing a doctor for guidance.
Learn and Teach Understanding
Working with anyone who has a mental health issue can be a real test of patience. But add to the equation the fact that you’ll be working with a child and you’ll have to try even harder to create a solid relationship. To help in this area, Holly Welham, a contributor to The Guardian, shares that one of the best things you can do is learn to be understanding of each child’s situation. This will take getting to know the child very well before you’re able to master this. Then, you can begin helping the child try to understand their own emotions or other issues through teaching them know to define and effectively communicate their own wants, needs, and feelings.
Work With Their Therapies
Depending on the type of mental health issue, the severity of the issue, the family’s wishes and other factors, the type of therapy used to address a child’s mental health issue will vary. Joseph Goldberg, a contributor to WebMD, shares that some of the therapies could include medication, psychotherapy, or forms of creative therapy. Knowing this, it’s important to work with the child in the way that their therapy is designed. This will allow you the greatest chance of successfully working and connecting with the child.
If you’re working with a child with mental health issues and aren’t sure how to progress, use the tips mentioned above to help you overcome your current hurdles.