BY MITA ARORA
When we experience physical ills, we rush to the doctor, who promises that we will recover quickly. Yet, when it comes to problems with emotions and behaviour control, the majority wait until the situation deteriorates and bodily functions are jeopardised.
According to the most recent WHO data, one in every 8 people worldwide suffers from a mental disorder. The most prevalent mental health conditions in India are depression, anxiety, stress, and eating disorders.
October 10 is acknowledged as World Mental Health Day. The primary goal of the World Mental Health Day is to break the stigma around mental health. This year’s theme is “Mental health is a universal right”.
This implies that access to good mental health is a necessity for everyone and anyone. The state of our mental health affects our attitudes, feelings, and actions. It also affects how we deal with stress, communicate with others and make wise choices. From childhood and adolescence to adulthood, mental health needs to be tended to at every stage of life.
However, there are some problems that can only be solved by mental health professionals, while some that nature and/or the nurturer can contribute to.
The child’s first communication, first bonding, first learning begins at home. It is from there that the values and model behaviour arise. The learning environment at home paves the way to how the child/adolescent sees the world.
This is followed by the teachers and peers at school to acquaintances, relations and experiences that are formed thereafter.
Dr Ravindra Agrawal, Consultant Psychiatrist in many hospitals across Goa, including Manipal, and President of the Psychiatric Society of Goa since August 2021, shared some advice on the various parenting techniques that parents should use to make sure that they are raising a child with sound mental health.
“The parents need to understand that they are not chasing perfection. Many parents want the child to be a model of good behaviour, good grades and extra-curricular activities. This can put a huge burden on the child,” he said.
He also mentioned how readily available technology today can be harmful in the hands of children and teenagers. Giving them early access to mobile phones and other related technology is equivalent to robbing them of their childhood.
“The children/adolescents need one to one bonding time. It’s imperative that language used with them is not critical, comparison to others and involves labelling. They understand relationships as they see. Good interpersonal relations between the parents yields healthier future relations. While marital discord affects children adversely,” he further said.
By providing the right nutrients, leading a healthy lifestyle, and teaching their children empowering skills, parents, and especially soon-to-be parents, can ensure that their children are physically and mentally strong.
“Parenting goes a long way to help their children develop resilience skills – ability to cope with adversity. Includes emotional regulation, ability to manage frustration and failure, assertiveness, self-discipline and life skills,” Dr Agrawal added.
Dr Ravindra Agrawal, Consultant Psychiatrist
The parent is raising a confident and capable child by providing a supportive and understanding environment for the child. A healthy childhood is like a solid foundation on which the child can overcome any obstacle or issue that comes its way. Make today the day you vow to provide your child with the encouragement they require to grow up with good emotional, psychological, and social health.