Experts recommend not avoiding conversations about parents’ mental health issues, as removing the stigma on mental illness can help children in ways we cannot even imagine.
Since children tend to centralize everything around them, when they see a parent that is in pain, they falsely believe that they are to blame. They can carry that guilt and burden their entire lives without even knowing it.
However, if the parents open up about their mental health issues, and they even give a name to the condition plaguing them, e.g. depression or anxiety, children can grow up in a healthier environment and be better prepared in the face of mental health issues themselves.
Around 20 percent of people have a mental health issue, but very few know it. What’s more, just around a half of those with a diagnosis get the proper treatment. Mental health illness can become noticeable at age 14, but individuals are usually diagnosed around a decade after the first symptoms.
Florida is the latest U.S. state to take a proactive attitude toward mental illness. NAMI Florida is behind an initiative called “Ending the Silence,” which is aimed at addressing students’ mental health.
End the Stigma of Mental Illness
Under the initiative, a young adult who has experienced mental illness first-hand and a mental health expert will instruct students, parents, and teachers on how mental illness looks like. The audience will be encouraged to seek help quickly if they recognize the signs in themselves or loved ones.
Authorities want a new generation of adults that can identify mental illness and end the silence around it, especially in the family. Psychologist Monica Borschel explained that the family is one of the most important social-support systems. So, it is critical for sufferers to feel safe within their families to call for help without fear that they may be judged or dismissed.
Experts insist that it is very important for parents to tell their children that the unhappiness of a parent or another close relative like a grandmother is not their fault. and to pinpoint the cause.
Dr. Alex Wai Ki Li noted that it is very difficult to explain mental illness to a child. So, many parents tend to brush it under the carpet. However, parents should make the effort, since children are a lot more perceptive than adults think.
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