There's never been a more important time to discuss your child's mental health and as expert child law advice Guildford lawyers, we are best placed to help you with any issues you may be experiencing at this time. It is far more acceptable and far easier to access help, advice and support for any mental health issues now than at any time before.
There is a lot of attention and focus on mental health at this time, with Covid-19 having an impact on pretty much everyone in the UK. Our children have been affected by being in lockdown for months at a time and unable to attend school, or interact physically with their friends. Instead communication has been solely by social media or phone calls, all of which have contributed to the stress they have been under by the inability to actually be children and socially interact with each other. Many have been affected by the exam situation and may not have achieved the results they were expecting. This in turn may have had a knock on effect on their long term education or career prospects, as they may be unable to attend their choice of university, or even proceed in their chosen career. All of this will obviously affect their mental health and cause them undue stress and frustration.
No-one chooses to suffer from a mental health condition and they can manifest at any stage in a persons life. They are usually triggered by a traumatic event, such as a death, parental divorce, accident etc, but they can also appear with no prior warning. Any mental health issue, mental illness, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts etc. can and do affect anybody, irrespective of age, sex, or religion. And anyone suffering from these issues will need appropriate care to help them access the help required to deal with their issues. Some of these people will be unaware they are suffering fom these illnesses and sensitive handling will be required to ensure they receive the help they need.
We all suffer days when we feel a little 'down' or 'not with it', and as a result diagnosing actual depression or anxiety can be difficult. Many people will pass unhelpful judgements such as, 'pull yourself together' or 'you have nothing to feel sad about', but depression and anxiety are a deeply personal illness that affects each individual very differently and for varied periods of time. Some symptons to watch out for are: low energy, loss of interest, inability to function, lack of appetite, lack of sleep and feelings of self worth, or self loathing. These feelings of hopelessness and helplessness do not go away, they stay with the person and impact every aspect of their day to day living. For approximately half of people who suffer they will only be affected once, for anything from around 6 months to a year, or occasionally longer. For others they may suffer from recurring bouts throughout their lives, sometimes months or even years apart.
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Any child, teenager or young adult can be affected by mental health issues and struggle to express how they feel or vocalise their emotions. They may not understand the emotions they are experiencing and feel like the world is against them. They may keep these feelings internalised and lock themselves away, as their way of dealing with it. They may feel judged for feeling this way, but there have been many improvements in recent years and they have access to many more agencies and much more help than ever before. If they are suffering from anxiety they may be even more worried about speaking to someone about how they feel and therefore it is important to be on the look out for any changes in their behaviour and to act on anything that could be deemed a mental health issue quickly. Children will present the same symptons as already mentioned above, however they may also display, irritability, tearfulness, a persistent low mood and unhappiness, outbursts of extreme anger, directed at themselves as well as others. You may find them withdrawing from their friends and losing interest in activities they once enjoyed. Their sleeping pattern may also be affected. All of these are indications that something may be amiss with them and subtle questioning and handling will help to assess the situation.
For some children their mental health issues may run deeper and they may see no way out other than to take their own life. Thinking about suicide is actually quite common, especially among teenagers, but few will go on to do so. These feelings are commonly triggered by traumatic experiences, or unsettling situations, like being bullied or losing a beloved pet etc. It is vital that you get help for any child going through these mental health issues, as early intervention can help to avoid long term problems. As experienced child law advice Guildford lawyers we can help and advise you with any questions you may have surrounding this issue. 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 targeting 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, please do not feel you need to go through this alone.
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