It is found that about 20% of kids between the age of 13-18 have a behavioral health disorder. This includes mental illness, eating disorders, or substance use (drugs), etc. If this issue remains untreated, it will result to bad academic scores, stress, bad family relations, risk to future wellbeing and so on.
A detailed study on how to start a conversation with children in need along with the barriers that come while treating such children are explained below;
Conversation- the first step to recovery:
Starting a conversation with someone about his/her mental illness is very difficult. It is advisable to consider below points before starting such conversations;
- Calm and soft tone of voice should be used.
- Explain on what exactly you mean to say, and be patient enough to listen to what the other person has to say about his problems without interrupting.
- Personal attacks should be avoided.
- Avoid talking about the past scenarios; rather the present should be discussed. Make the child understand that whatever has happened in the past can't be changed, we need to concentrate on the present and future which is very bright.
- If the discussion heats up, the best would be to take a break and talk again sometime later.
- The counselor or the parents who have initiated to discuss about the topic should first remember about their own teenage days, this would help them to make a mindset that equals with their kids and end up to positive conclusions.
- The child should be given a strong feeling about togetherness. It's important to make the child feel that he/she is not alone. Whatever the scenario is, they have people around to help them out.
Barriers to treatment:
Many children are deprived of the correct assistance and care required during their mental illness. Few of the barriers are mentioned as below;
Lack of access:It is found that on an average only 13 child and adolescent psychiatrists are available for 100,000 children. The ratio is very less. Hence, this unavailability of services can tend to more progress of the illness.
Social stigma:Parents usually develop a fear that if their child is once labeled as mentally ill, then the tags like ‘problem child’, ‘troubled child’ etc. would follow him the rest of his life. Hence, parents tend to avoid consulting doctors.
The child’s future is very important. Actions taken today would affect his future. From the above, we get to know that mature thinking and understanding is required to handle such critical cases.