Child Mental Health Perspective
Children are assets for any society. Society has bilateral/two way role in providing for the children and in turn children give back as productive members of the society. Impact of the society on growing children is enormous and helps shape the future of the individual.
The journey starting at birth has many dimensions and children are influenced by everything they come across and mix it with qualities (gene and environment) they are born with. Studies have shown that environment plays a big role in expressions or suppressions of the innate genetic qualities of an individual.
Initial few years of life are marked with accelerated growth of body and brain and are crucial for the normal development.
Children are born with a brain like an empty disc, waiting for the programs to be written, future progress and quality of life depends immensely upon the quality of programs (teaching and training) and the timing. However these programs are influenced by genetic loading of the child (if there are mental health issues or not), economic status, parenting skills of the parents/caretaker, neibougher hood, school system, religious believes, social/cultural values, and other variables to name few.
Among Negative attributes are the mental health issues, poor physical health, poor parenting, inadequate schooling, and rough social environment, unstable socioeconomic status of the family, poor services, and many more.
Still among those some variables are hard to modify while others are modifiable to an extent with an effort and hard work in the right direction.
Early detection and intervention is a key to positive change in the individual’s life. In this current fast pace world, focused and pertinent identification of the problem and remedial intervention are of prime importance for lasting success.
In this regard there are some universal problems, like( known mental illnesses, social and occupation issues due to new developments when not used rightfully, Like imitating and copying the culture which is totally opposite to individuals own values resulting huge conflict among different age group family members, like use of computer excessively and inappropriately “computer addiction have been noted and resulting in declining performance of the individuals”, etc) still other problems which are culture specific.
Utmost important is the need to deal with these issues within the frame work of acceptable cultural and religious beliefs.
In order to achieve success, it is of immense value to know the problem in depth and modifiable causative factors, and knowledge to deal with these problems (treatment). There need to be short term objectives and long term goals going side by side to help make difference in this area.
Short Term objective:
Organize and prepare the team of mental health professionals to render support and services using the available tools and manpower toward the identifiable mental illness among school going children.
1) Parent education and discussions groups for the high risk group of children as pointed out by the parents, teachers and primary care physicians.
2) “Teacher education” about the common mental illness and how to identify and when to refer for more thorough evaluation.
3) Scheduled mental health screening events in the school with prior parent’s informed consent. (Parents trust and confidence is very important in this regard for full cooperation)
4) Appropriate referral and further evaluation/treatment of high risk individuals.
5) Arrangement for mental health school nurse who can render services to children in need including but not limited to dispensing medications if needed.
6) Self help support groups at school and community level to help deal with identifiable mental illness and overcome stigma associated.
Long term Goals:
Goals can be achieved by the recruitment of mental health professional/educational experts having them credentialed appropriately and training them to do the following task.
A) Achieve better results by initial training workshops for the teachers to indentify the common mental illness there presentation and the way to handle these problems in school setting.
B) Annual mental health Screening surveys to indentify children who need full psychiatric evaluation and appropriate referral to the mental healthcare professional
C) Coordination and collaboration of reports and record from the psychiatric provider to parents and additional services recommendations’ if needed to the school.
D) Idea of having resource rooms for the children having minor issues and need some support to finish their assignment within the same class.
E) If needed special education classes with fewer students more teachers to help remedy the special need children who need accommodation.
F) Arrangement for the test accommodations for the special need children.
G) Ongoing research to develop innovative techniques to improve the systems. (including feedback from the parents and educational professional to help develop efficient system)
H) Establishment of chain of out-patient clinics with defined catchment area, coupled with day programs and in-patient psychiatric units for acute emergencies.
Mental health support and services is ongoing process which needs to be evaluated from time to time for its effectiveness and need for adding the services or modifying implementation coarse depending upon the need.
Above mentioned programs may exist in any society and there is always room for improvement and task specific research can help in upgrading the system. This is essentially a work in progress even in very developed societies. It is never enough the effort we can put in this area.
“Children are assets for any society. Society has bilateral/two way role in providing for the children and in turn children give back as productive members of the society.”