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Children & Child Custody

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Child law advice Guildford and mental health.

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Child law advice Guildford and mental health.

Today we are taking a look at child law advice Guildford and mental health. There is a lot of 'buzz' around mental health in the media at the moment and a lot more awareness of the issues surrounding it. Indeed it is far more acceptable and easier to obtain information, help and advice regarding the issue than ever before.

Mental health issues, mental illness, depression, anxiety and/or suicidal thoughts can affect anybody, irrespective of age, sex, background or religion. People do not choose to suffer from a mental illness and they can appear at any time, sometimes as a result of a traumatic event, but often they just manifest with no prior warning. People with mental health problems will need appropriate care to deal with their issues and to obtain help to deal with them.

Depression and anxiety can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Often people will tell you to 'pull yourself together' or 'everyone has bad days' etc, however depression is much more than this. Symptoms include, loss of interest, poor concentration, low energy, disturbed sleep, lack of appetite, feelings of low self worth.  Someone suffering from depression will feel intense emotions of anxiety, hopelessness and helplessness too and these feelings stay with the person, they do not go away. This is quite different from the feelings of unhappiness or sadness that we all experience at one time or another.

Depression can also happen to anyone. There are many famous people, people who we would expect to not have a care in the world, who are now happy to admit their battles with depression to the public eye. No-one is immune and it can potentially affect any single one of us at some point. For approximately half of sufferers experiencing depression, they will only be affected by it once, for anything from around 6 months to a year, or sometimes longer. The other half will experience it again at some point, maybe months or even years later. The length of time people suffer for varies from person to person and there is no definitive answer, or reason, for this. 

Anxiety is something we all experience throughout our lives, like before an interview or before taking a test etc. However it can become a serious mental health problem if you cannot control it and it begins to take over your daily life – for instance if your anxiety is not in proportion to the situation, if you avoid all situations that may make you anxious, if you suffer regularly from panic attacks, or if your feelings of anxiety are very intense and last for a long time. You may also find it incredibly difficult to engage in your normal everyday activities and life and you may even give up things that you previously enjoyed. Physical traits are things like, extreme nervousness, sweating, trembling, increased heart rate, feeling restless, having a feeling of something bad about to happen or breathing rapidly.

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Young adults, teenagers and children can find it particularly difficult to express how they are feeling and to vocalise their emotions. If they are suffering from depression they may not understand their symptoms and feel like the whole world is against them and/or there is no hope for them. They will often keep their feelings and emotions to themselves, sometimes for fear of being judged and sometimes because they do not have any idea how, or who, to speak to, to help deal with their issues. If they are suffering from anxiety they may be even more worried about speaking to someone about how they feel. It is important to be on the look out for any changes in behaviour and to act on anything that could be deemed a mental health issue quickly. The symptoms children will exhibit will differ for each child and can be the same as some of the ones listed above. However they may also display, irritability, tearfulness, a persistent low mood and unhappiness, outbursts of extreme anger, aimed at themselves as well as others. They may also become withdrawn from their friends and family and lose interest in activities, hobbies or after school clubs etc that they were once involved with. You may also notice a difference in their eating and/or sleeping pattern too. No one of these is a definite indicator of any mental health issue, but if you notice a difference in your child and some of these symptoms appearing, then it is important that you seek help earlier rather than later.

With some children these mental health issues can run deeper and they may see no way out and think about taking their own life. Thinking about suicide is actually quite common, but very few children will go on to take their own lives. It is important to get to the bottom of what instigated these feelings in your child, as clearly even just thinking of taking their life is indicating they are extremely unhappy about something and need help to work through. Suicidal feelings can be difficult to get to the bottom of and to discover where they originated from. They are commonly triggered by difficult or unsettling experiences, things like, being bullied, losing a loved one or a pet, being a victim of abuse, or living with an undiagnosed mental illness. If you have a child going through this situation it will naturally have an effect on the whole family. Siblings may well pick up that something is wrong with their brother/sister and in some situations, you may find they are going through something similar, so it is vitally important that you are able to give them all the support they will need. It can be incredibly overwhelming, unsettling, not to mention downright scary when you realise your child has been having these thoughts and feelings, but there is help out there for you to help deal with the situation. Your first point of help can be your GP, who will have access to many agencies and people who can help you out. One of these agencies is CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service) which is made up of many different healthcare professionals, from psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, primary mental healthcare specialists to name a few, who work within the NHS healthcare system specifically targetting children and young adults who are experiencing issues with behavioural, well-being or mental health issues. You can also approach your child's school and speak to a trusted teacher or support worker, your health visitor, or your social worker (if you have one). There is help out there, do not feel you need to go through this alone.

For any Child law advice Guildford queries you have that need resolving, we are here to help you. Call us today on 01483 826470 and let us help you with clear, easy to understand and expert advice

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