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About children’s mental health

What is meant by "children's mental health"?

The term "children's mental health" refers to children's social, emotional, and behavioural well-being, and is considered an integral part of children's healthy development.

What are "mental health problems?"

Just as with physical health, no one goes through life without some mental health problems. This is as true in childhood as it is in adulthood. Many such problems are a normal part of life. For the most part, we learn and grow from them.

Sometimes, however, our normal ways of handling mental health problems in ourselves or our children are unsuccessful. When this happens, we find ourselves in need of assistance from persons with specialized knowledge and skill.

Serious mental health problems in childhood can include serious depression, unmanageable behaviour, and an inability to get along with others. These problems can cause much stress and heartache to children, their families, their teachers, and the community. In addition, they often lead to even more serious mental health problems in adulthood.

What is "mental health treatment?" How is it different from "counselling?"

Counselling is advice that we receive from someone with special training to help us deal more effectively with our problems. Counselling generally takes an educational approach and deals with conscious issues. It guides our current insight and understanding of a problem, and offers relevant new information that might help us to solve the problem.

Mental health treatment is a series of planned interventions, sometimes intensive in nature, based on a detailed assessment of the factors that have produced and are maintaining a problem. The interventions are aimed at bringing about changes in thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and interactions that, in turn, can help us solve or alleviate our problems. The process of treatment includes attention to thoughts, feelings, and behaviour that may not be in our immediate awareness (i.e., may be subconscious or unconscious). It may include medications for problems that are partly biochemical in nature (e.g., serious depression).