Conversation about Children’s Mental Health by Emily Zaffiro
What is a mental health disorder? A mental health disorder refers to a wide variety of disorders that affect one’s mood, thinking, or their behavior. They can affect one’s mood by: feeling sad, extreme guilt, mood changes from highs to lows, extreme anger or hostility, and extreme tiredness. Disorders can affect one’s thinking by: reducing the ability to concentrate, detachment from reality, suicidal thinking, and a difficulty to relate to others in each situation. They can affect one’s behaviors through: a withdrawal from friends and activities, inability to cope with daily stress, alcohol or drug abuse, and major changes in eating habits which could include weight gain or weight loss.
For children, the term they use is Sever Emotional Disruption, or SED for short. This term is used to describe children who have any type of behavioral or emotional or mental health disorder. But how common is SED? 1 in 5 children have a diagnosable Mental Health Disorder, and 1 in 10 children has Severe Emotional Disruption. Children with SED have a 50% chance of dropping out of high school. That’s one in two children.
So how can we better support these children?
We can start having these conversations by reducing the stigma around the subject. By discussing the side effects of mental health, children would not be afraid to talk about what they are experiences, and we can give them all a better life instead of one that leads to a dead end.