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Boosting your child’s mental wellbeing

Every parent wants to see their children happy and healthy, but while it is everyone’s dream, in reality, there are many factors contributing to children’s happiness, some of which can be monitored and influenced by the parents. During this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week, which takes place 3-9 February 2020, Pacific Prime UK joins the efforts in raising awareness on the issue and prepared this article about ways to boost your child’s mental wellbeing.

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What is children’s mental wellbeing, and why is it important?

Mental health, in general, refers to cognitive, behavioural, and emotional wellbeing – it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. For children, being mentally healthy means being able to cope with stress in any situation, to go to school and play at home and in the community without feeling angry, anxious or depressed. 

It’s worth noting that mental disorders do not develop on their own, but are triggered by changes or traumatic events in the life of a child. Such triggers can include changing homes, parents’ divorce, starting a new school, or death of a beloved pet. In such situations, parents must be especially vigilant and pay attention to their children’s needs. 

Why is children’s mental health important?

Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults. However, mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. The most common are depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders such as eating disorders. 

And alarmingly, approximately 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. Unidentified and untreated mental disorders at a young age can further lead to discrimination, stigma, and exclusion, and may even result in limited access to social, education and health services. 

Boosting Children's mental wellbeing requires time spent together
Spending quality time with your children is one way to help them maintain good mental wellbeing.

Early warning signs

If you’re not sure what to look out for when it comes to your child’s mental health, one or some of these behaviours can be an early warning sign of a developing problem: 

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings

Ways parents can boost their children’s mental wellbeing

The mental wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. There are areas of children’s lives which parents can arrange to make sure their children’s mental health is being taken care of on a basic level. Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:

  • Being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
  • Having the time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
  • Being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
  • Going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all of its pupils

Besides these points being met, parents can also look into other spheres where they can help. These areas include: 

Parental help 

You, as a parent, can help boost your child’s mental wellbeing in many ways, such as finding time to spend with them, talking and listening to them, being a positive role model by showing how to deal with stress, and giving them advice if they come to you with a problem. 

Feeling loved and accepted by the family is extremely important to every child’s mental wellbeing, too. Being a supportive parent who praises their children for their successes without setting unrealistic expectations, is a great way to support your child’s mental wellbeing.

Professional help

If your child is having problems at school, a teacher, school nurse, school counselor or educational psychologist, and even your GP may be able to provide assistance. These professionals are able to refer a child to further help.

Most support for children and young people is provided free by the NHS, however as an expat, you might want to consider adding mental health benefits in your UK family health insurance plan, to ensure help is anonymous and fast.

Discuss all things insurance with Pacific Prime

With the UK leaving the European Union, many EU nationals living and working in the UK might want to look at different types of health insurance in the UK, as to ensure constant protection for themselves and their families should medical attention be necessary. Whether it is hospitalization, dental, maternity or mental health benefits you’re after, the advisors at Pacific Prime UK can help you compare plans from the top international insurance companies and advise on policy benefits and limits to match your unique needs. Contact us today!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime UK
Elwira Skrybus is a content writer at Pacific Prime. In her everyday work, she utilises her previous social media and branding experience to create informative articles, guides, and reports to help our readers simplify the sometimes-puzzling world of international health insurance.

When she isn’t writing, you are most likely to find Elwira in search of the perfect plant-based burger or enjoying Hong Kong’s great outdoors either at the beach or on a boat - the closer to the sea, the better!