14 September 2023

What is stress?

We live in a time of increased stress in the world. Like adults, many children are struggling right now. We’re going through many drastic shifts in the world, but there are many other things that can also lead to stress in children – negative situations at home, violence in schools or exams. Even positive changes like moving house or making new…, What is stress?, Stress is a common feeling we get when we feel under pressure, overwhelmed or unable to cope. Small amounts of stress can be good for us and motivate us to achieve goals like taking an exam or giving a speech. But too much of it, especially when it feels out of control, can negatively impact our mood, physical and mental well-being and…, What causes stress?, Children don’t always experience stress the way adults do. Whereas work-related stress is common among adults, most children experience stress when they cannot cope with threatening, difficult or painful situations. These include: Negative thoughts or feelings about themselves Changes in their bodies like the beginning of puberty The demands of…, Stress in children and adolescents, Stress can be triggered in children when they experience something new or unexpected. For young children, tensions at home such as domestic abuse, separation of parents or the death of a loved one are common causes of stress. School is another common reason – making new friends or taking exams can make children feel overwhelmed. As children grow…, Signs and symptoms of stress in kids, When the body is under stress it produces hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that prepare us for urgent action – also known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. This can have many effects on a child’s mind and body, such as:, 🔵 Physical, Shallow breathing, sweating and a racing heart Headaches, dizziness and difficulty sleeping Nausea, indigestion or digestive problems Weight gain or loss from eating too much or too little Aches and pains and falling sick more often, 🔵 Emotional and mental, Irritability and anger causing temper outbursts or withdrawing from family and friends Neglecting responsibilities, lower efficiency at tasks or having difficulty concentrating Emotional distress such as continuously feeling sad or being tearful These symptoms can often lead to more stress. It is important to help your child find ways to cope, so…, Ways to help your child cope, When children are feeling stressed, parents can play an important role in helping them find ways to cope.   Like adults, children sometimes need to be reminded to be kind to themselves.   Spot the triggers: Help your child recognize and begin to track the times they felt stressed and look for patterns in how they reacted. What was happening at the…, When to seek professional help, If your child is finding it difficult to cope, consider meeting with a trained expert who can help. Talk to your family doctor or a counsellor for advice. They should be able to advise you on available treatment, such as time with a psychologist who helps people to manage stress and establish positive mental health habits. Don’t be afraid to seek…
14 September 2023

What is depression?

All children feel low or down at times, it’s a natural part of growing up. But these emotions can be worrisome when felt intensely over long periods of time, particularly if they affect your child’s social, family and school life. Although it's hard for anyone to feel optimistic when they're depressed, depression can be treated and there are…, What is depression?, Depression is one of the most common types of mental health conditions and often develops alongside anxiety. Depression can be mild and short-lived or severe and long-lasting. Some people are affected by depression only once, while others may experience it multiple times. Depression can lead to suicide, but this is preventable when appropriate…, What causes depression?, Depression can happen as a reaction to something like abuse, violence in school, the death of someone close or family problems like domestic violence or family breakdown. Someone might get depressed after being stressed for a long time. It can also run in the family. Sometimes we may not know why it happens.   Based on a global survey conducted by…, Depression in children and adolescents, Depression can show up in children and adolescents as prolonged periods of unhappiness or irritability. It is quite common among older children and teenagers, but often goes unrecognized. Some children might say they feel “unhappy” or “sad”. Others might say they want to hurt or even kill themselves. Children and adolescents who experience…, Signs and symptoms of depression in kids, Depression can feel different for different children. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of depression:, 🟢 Physical, Tiredness or low energy, even when rested Restlessness or difficulty concentrating Difficulty in carrying out daily activities Changes in appetite or sleep patterns Aches or pains that have no obvious cause, 🟢 Emotional and mental, Persistent sadness, anxiousness or irritability Loss of interest in friends and activities that they normally enjoy Withdrawal from others and loneliness Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt Taking risks they wouldn’t normally take   Self-harming or suicidal thoughts Experiencing one or more of these symptoms doesn’t mean a child is…, Ways to help your child cope, Here are some things you can do to support your child if you think they may be depressed: Find out what’s happening: Ask them how they’re feeling and listen openly without judgment or advice. Ask people you trust who know your child, like a favourite teacher or close friend, to find out if they’ve noticed anything that might be worrying them or…, When to seek professional help, As depression can only be diagnosed by a qualified expert, it's important to seek help from your health care provider who may refer your child to a mental health expert or psychiatrist. If the mental health expert thinks your child would benefit from treatment, the options might include some form of talk therapy – where they learn how to manage…
14 September 2023

What are panic attacks?

A panic attack is an intense feeling of fear and anxiety. It often happens if people feel anxious about something happening in their life or have experienced something difficult or stressful. Panic attacks can feel very frightening, especially for children, but they can usually be stopped with treatment. It’s important to know that a panic attack…, What is a panic attack?, A panic attack is a feeling of fear and anxiety that can overwhelm us quite suddenly and is usually accompanied by intense physical symptoms such as lightheadedness, shortness of breath and a racing heart. Many children feel a sense of terror during an attack, like something bad is about to happen. These feelings can occur even when there is no…, What causes panic attacks?, It is not always clear what causes panic attacks in children or adults. What we know is feeling anxious about something or experiencing something difficult or stressful can cause a panic attack. These situations include: Anxiety caused by a difficult experience at home or school Stress about things like exams, friendships or relationships The…, Panic attacks in children and adolescents, Panic attacks often begin during adolescence, although they may start during childhood. Attacks can lead to severe anxiety, as well as affecting other parts of a child's mood or functioning. Some children begin to avoid situations where they fear a panic attack may occur. Adolescents might use alcohol or drugs to reduce their anxiety. If not…, Signs and symptoms of panic attacks, If your child experiences a panic attack, they might feel out of control with what’s going on around them, scared that their body is in danger or even like they are dying. Our bodies can react in different ways to panic attacks. Some of these reactions include:  Breathlessness, quick breathing or finding it hard to breathe  Light-headedness or a…, Ways to help your child cope, Knowing what triggers an attack is the first step in attacking panic. Ask your child how they feel and what is making them feel anxious or stressed. Are there certain situations or places that cause them to feel panicky? This knowledge can help your child think about what they can do to cope with those situations.  During a panic attack, your…, When to seek professional help, In severe cases of panic attacks, the child or adolescent may be afraid to leave home. If you notice your child showing persisting symptoms of panic attacks, it is time to seek help from your healthcare provider. Children and adolescents with symptoms of panic attacks should first be evaluated by their family doctor or pediatrician. If no other…
14 September 2023

What is anxiety?

It is natural for children to feel worried and anxious at times, about things like friendships, speaking in front of a crowd or taking an exam. It’s when the worrying continues and makes everyday life hard that anxiety becomes a problem. The good news is that with the right professional help and through developing positive coping skills, anxiety…, What is anxiety?, Anxiety is the feeling you get when you’re worried or scared about something. It is a natural, human feeling of fear or panic. Afterwards, we usually calm down and feel better. Small amounts of worry and fear can help keep us safe and even protect us from danger. But sometimes anxiety can make us feel like things are worse than they actually are…, What causes anxiety?, It can be hard to pinpoint the exact causes of anxiety. When we face stressful situations, alarm bells go off in our brain telling us something isn’t right and that we need to deal with it. To make the difficult situation go away, our brain makes us more alert, stops us from thinking about other things and even pumps more blood to our legs to help…, Anxiety in children and adolescents, Children can feel anxious about different things at different ages. Many of these worries are a natural part of growing up. From the age of around 6 months to 3 years it's very common for young children to have separation anxiety. They may become clingy and cry when separated from their parents or caregivers. This is a normal stage in a child's…, Signs and symptoms of anxiety in kids, Anxiety symptoms can be complicated and may even arise long after a stressful event. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms:, 🟢 Physical, Shortness of breath, headaches or feeling faint A racing heart and sometimes high blood pressure Feeling fidgety, trembling or feeling weak in the legs Feeling sick in your stomach – cramps, diarrhoea or frequent visits to the bathroom Having trouble sleeping or a reduced appetite Dry mouth, excessive sweating or feeling hot. , 🟢 Emotional and mental, Struggling to focus on things – lack of concentration Feeling panicky, nervous or on edge Feeling overwhelmed or a sense of dread Feeling out of control in a situation Feeling tired and grumpy Anxiety feels different for everyone. It is natural to feel  more  or  less  anxious than others about the same situation. Anxious children tend to need…, Ways to help your child cope, If your child is feeling anxious, the first thing you can do is remind them is that the feeling will pass. This will help to soothe them and feel less anxious. There are things you can do to help them cope and be better prepared. Explore the feeling together: Ask your child to observe their feelings of anxiety and tell you – what is happening when…, When to seek professional help, If anxiety is impacting your child’s daily life, professional treatment can make a huge difference. Your health-care provider can refer you to a mental health professional for an assessment and advice on treatment that is right for your child. If your child is offered counselling or talk therapy, they can speak with a trained mental health…