Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Mental Health Status: A Study of School Children in Visakhapatnam District

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Mental Health Status: A Study of School Children in Visakhapatnam District

Article excerpt

Mental Health is about maintaining a good level of personal and social functioning. For children and young people, this means getting on the others, both peers and adults, participating in educative and other social activities, and having a positive self-esteem. Mental health is about coping and adjusting to the demands of growing up. It does not all happen at one point in time, and appears to result from an interactive process to which we can all contribute, based on the child's environmental, social and cultural context. Often, a child has more than one disorder according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1999). However, it is important to remember that diagnosis is often complex and mental health problems may exist alongside each other. It is also important to guard against the labelling of children and young people as having a mental illness, especially where difficulties may be seen as part of the difficult task of growing up. Emotional disorders refer to the whole range of emotional problems that are experienced by children. The majority of children are miserable on occasions, and the ability to understand and resolve minor setbacks or difficulties is a central part of a child's psychological development in adolescence, young people who are depressed may appear to be overly irritable.

Mental, emotional and behavioral disorders

Young people can have mental, emotional, and behavioral problems that are real, painful, and costly. These problems, often called "disorders," are sources of stress for children and their families, schools and communities. The number of young people and their families who are affected by mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders is significant. It is estimated that as many as one in five children and adolescents may have a mental health disorder that can be identified and require treatment. Mental health disorders in children and adolescents are caused by biology, environment, or a combination of the two. Examples of biological factors are genetics, chemical imbalances in the body, and damage to the central nervous system, such as a head injury. Many environmental factors also can affect mental health, including exposure to violence, extreme stress, and the loss of an important person. Families and communities, working together, can help children and adolescents with mental disorders. A broad range of services is often necessary to meet the needs of these young people and their families.

Bipolar disorder: Children and adolescents who demonstrate exaggerated mood swings that range from extreme highs (excitedness or manic phases) to extreme lows (depression) may have bipolar disorder (sometimes called manic depression). Periods of moderate mood occur in between the extreme highs and lows. During manic phases, children or adolescents may talk nonstop, need very little sleep, and show unusually poor judgment. At the low end of the mood swing, children experience severe depression. Bipolar mood swings can recur throughout life. Adults with bipolar disorder (about one in 100) often experienced their first symptoms during their teenage years (National Institutes of Health, 2001).

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Young people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are unable to focus their attention and are often impulsive and easily distracted. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder occurs in up to five of every 100 children. Most children with this disorder have great difficulty remaining still, taking turns and keeping quiet. Symptoms must be evident in at least two settings, such as home and school, in order for attention hyperactivity disorder to be diagnosed.

Conduct disorder: Young people with conduct disorder usually have little concern for others and repeatedly violate the basic rights of others and the rules of society. Conduct disorder causes children and adolescents to act out their feelings or impulses in destructive ways. The offenses these children and adolescents commit often grow more serious over time. …

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