Mind Matters Wayanad

Counselling, Psychotherapy & Remedial Education Centre

Under the aegis of Foundation for Social Health, Thrissur (R-343/2006)

Child Mental Health

The magnitude of child mental health issues now a days are seriously alarming. Many studies of mental health problems have now been carried out in low and middle-income countries show that children in these countries (i.e., India, China, the Middle-East countries, Colombia and the Philippines), have either the same or higher rates of mental health problems than children in high-income countries. Between 1 in 5 and 1 in 10 children have mental health problems that reduce the quality of their lives at any one time. Children with these problems are frequently seen in primary healthcare clinics, but they are often not identified by those working in such clinics. One study carried out in four LAMI countries showed that nearly 4 out of 5 children who attended clinics with mental health problems were not recognized to have such problems by the health professionals who saw them. Health professionals receive very little, if any, training in this area of work.

Mental health problems which affect children are different in nature: (a) Delays and deviations from normal development, (b) Habit problems in the early years, especially feeding, sleeping difficulties, bed-wetting and soiling, (c) Emotional problems, especially anxiety and depression, (d) Behaviour problems, including extreme disobedience, temper tantrums, aggressive behaviour, stealing, lying, truancy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, (e) Academic problems, includes scholastic backwardness, learning disorders, exam fear (f) Self-harm, (g) Mental health difficulties arising from chronic physical illnesses, (h) Physical symptoms for which no physical illness is found, (i) Severe mental disorders, especially psychoses, (j) Alcohol and drug dependency, (k) Stressful or damaging experiences, especially child abuse; which all to be addressed in modern psychological perspective.