Children can suffer the same mental health disorders as adults, but Dr. Oluwayemi Ogun, a consultant psychiatrist, said that their symptoms may vary.
At the Vanguard 2nd Mental Health Summit in Lagos, Ogun, the former Medical Director of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Yaba, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
She said that delays or disturbances in the development of thinking, behaviour, social skills, or emotion management in children are often characterised as mental health issues.
She claims that these issues affect kids and can interfere with their capacity to operate normally at home, at school, or in other social settings.
According to her, 50% of mental health issues start to manifest by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24.
According to her, a number of issues, including poor parenting, bullying, physical disease, drug abuse, insufficient child spacing, and unintended pregnancies, might contribute to children’s mental health and developmental disorders.
The psychiatrist highlighted a number of risk factors that might lead to the emergence of mental health disorders in youngsters, including genetic makeup, exposure to trauma, violence, alcohol use, and despair.
She asserts that parents and caregivers, a secure learning environment, and discipline are some of the variables that prevent children from mental health disorders, adding that parents should provide their children with proper care and watch their kids carefully to notice any changes.
“A child is a human being below the age of 18 years. Mentally healthy children have a positive quality of life and are able to function at home, in school and other community functions.
“Because no one is immune to mental health conditions, children too can develop the same mental health conditions as adults but, their symptoms maybe different.
“Being mentally healthy during childhood means reaching developmental and emotional milestones, learning healthy social skills and how to cope when there are problems.
“Therefore, parents and caregivers as protective factors should enroll in parent training programmes that can help them to learn more about the warning signs and symptoms of mental health conditions for better management/care.
“They can also explore stress management techniques in order to help the children respond calmly,” Ogun said.
Therefore, the psychiatrist emphasised the importance of early intervention for kids with childhood mental health disorders.
She went on to say that strategies for preventing mental health disorders in children included lobbying, funding, cross-sector collaboration, implementation of laws and human rights, increased access to and usage of psychotropic medications, and implementation of laws and human rights.