Children may be appear to be carefree and not directly concerned with the ‘bigger’ issues in life, but their sensitivity should not be ignored. Concerned by how world events impact the mental health of young minds, the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) recently commissioned a survey. The national analysis found that issues like global warming, political decisions, and terrorism were leaving a sense of anxiety in about 33 percent children and adolescents.
The survey, conducted by YouGov, saw participation from more than 1800 parents of children aged between five and 18. It quizzed the parents on issues related to the reasons that caused anxiety in their kids. The findings concluded that terrorism topped the list, with 35 percent parents saying that it left their kids anxious. Further, 31 percent were concerned about presidential choices, while apprehensions about global warming and climate changes made another 30 percent nervous. A fifth of the parents or 20 percent also stated that their children were affected by the threat of a nuclear war.
Dr. Camilla Rosan, a child psychologist at the MHF, said that more often than not, people tend to overlook the significant impact that distressing world events have on the mental health of children. “This is especially true in the digital age where it’s no longer possible to shield our children from worrying or scary news”, she added.
MHF releases guidelines
Addressing the concern of the parents, the MHF released a set of 10 guidelines that would help them talk to their children about world events. These guidelines are mentioned below:
- Do not cut off children from news and events. It would rarely be helpful.
- Too much exposure to unnecessary news should be avoided.
- Instill a sense of security in children. This will make them feel safe.
- Getting concerned is natural. Teens should not be made to feel otherwise.
- Conversations should be molded according to the age of the child.
- Timing is of great importance. Conversation about the topic should take place at the appropriate time.
- There might be many questions playing in the mind of the teens. Encourage them to speak out and ask these questions. They would feel reassured.
- Sometimes things could be difficult to understand or accept for the still developing brains. Make place for repetitions.
- Tell the adolescents the truth. It might be bitter but it will help them in preparing better.
- Let the children know the facts without any bias.
Similar level of anxiety observed in US
Though anxiety is supposed to be a part of a normal childhood, prolonged phases of angst may lead to the development of anxiety disorders in children. Characterized by overwhelming, persistent, and at times, irrational worry, anxiety can also manifest in physical symptoms like restlessness, fatigue, continuous stomach and headaches and difficulty in concentrating.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), one in eight children suffer from anxiety in the United States. When such mental disorders are left untreated, individuals, be it adolescents or adults, are unable to complete daily chores, miss out on important social experiences and experiment with substance abuse. Moreover, anxiety disorders may also co-occur with other mental disorders like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, depression, etc. which may exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety.
Anxiety disorders can be treated
There may be situations when one feels helpless and is unsure about how to deal with anxiety disorders. You must not fret in such a situation as help for effectively treating most types of anxiety disorders is available. With an array of treatment modalities in practice, it is easier than before to overcome such debilitating mental disorders.
If you or your loved one is suffering from anxiety disorders, contact the Anxiety Disorder Treatment Arizona to know more about the latest progress being made in anxiety disorder treatment in Arizona. You can also locate the best anxiety disorder treatment centers in Arizona by calling our 24/7 anxiety helpline number 866-425-9317 or by chatting online with our trained representatives.