5 Types of Common Mental Health Problems in Child


5 Types of Common Mental Health Problems in Child

Mental distress has been a stereotype for a long time. On the one hand, we, as a society, put a lot of emphasis on our physical fitness and well-being; however, when it comes to mental wellness, people tend to ignore the same. However, good mental health is important for your overall well-being. Long-term exposure to mental distress can increase the chances of several diseases like diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, and depression.

While adults find it hard to deal with mental distress, imagine what a child dealing with bad mental health goes through. Yes, you heard it right. Children too suffer from mental illness. 

To understand what causes anxiety in children, you need to be very patient with them. Getting help from a professional can also be a great choice. Worry not; we’ve got you covered. Read on to get valuable information on topics like child mental health, what affects child mental health, its signs, treatment, and everything related. Also, understand how health insurance can be helpful for the same.

What is Child Mental Health?

A mentally healthy childhood means being able to grow and carry out all regular chores without any psychological and emotional hindrance. It also includes having coping abilities if there's any problem. Child development and mental health are interrelated. A mentally healthy kid is most likely to have a positive life at school as well as at home. On the other hand, a kid with mental distress can face difficulty in healthy development. This problem can be bothersome even in their adulthood.

How Mental Health is Important in Children

While most parents believe that raising children is probably the world’s most difficult job, they also agree that it is one of the most beautiful phases of life. Sadly, some children may have to suffer from toxic family relations, leading to mental disturbances. Even after getting the best family environment, some children may go through common mental health problems in childhood. Anxiety, stress, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders, depression, etc., may cause toxic stress and other long-term impact on a child's young mind.

So, how to help a child with stress and anxiety? Parents who spot child stress symptoms in their kids may want to fix it for their kids  without delaying a minute. However, you need to understand that mental health challenges are different from physical illness and merely medicines cannot improve the situation. The process requires patience and time with lots of love, empathy, and understanding from parents and people around. Well, the very first step is to recognise and acknowledge the problems.

Mental Health Challenges in Children in India

According to several studies and surveys, 23.3% of school children and adolescents across the globe suffer from psychiatric disorders. In the past few years, India has positively reacted to the mental health challenges. Surveys reveal that children between the age of 13-17 have up to 7.1% prevalence of mental health challenges. Due to many reasons, children are likely to suffer one or the other type of mental illness. Girl children are also at risk of early marriage, below the legal age, leading to various domestic abuse and mental impact.

Apart from this, physical and mental changes during adolescent age are also a major reason behind signs of mental illness in children. Millions of children across the globe experience some or the other types of mental health problems. Reading these stats may leave you worried about your child. Are they dealing with poor mental health, and if so, then what are the symptoms?

Signs of Mental Illness

Understanding what a child's mental health is and how important it is for a kid's normal growth and development is the first step. So, let's dive a bit deeper and understand the signs of mental illness. Understanding these signs at an early stage can be quite helpful in the treatment. Below are some alarming signs of a child's mental illness.

  • Constant feeling of sadness in your kid
  • Fast breathing or fear for no reason
  • Being socially distanced and not participating in any social events
  • Repeated mood swings
  • Lack of concentration
  • Sudden changes in academic performance or activities
  • Over-the-top feelings
  • Tendency to physically hurt themselves
  • Nightmares
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Constantly feeling irritated.

However, you also need to understand that some of these signs may occur normally in your child as they're growing up. And the problem doesn't lie in their changed behavior but it lies in how long that behavior lasts. If you see any of these changes or signs being a constant in your kid’s mood, it's time to seek an expert's advice.

Causes of Child Mental Health Problems

Mental stress in children does not occur because of any one reason but is a combination of many. These causes can be hereditary, psychological, or emotional.

1. Hereditary Factors

According to several studies, some of the mental health problems can be passed to the next generation. It means your child may suffer from a mental disorder that one of your family members had at one time. There is no discrete evidence for the same, but experts believe that family vulnerability does pass on in certain circumstances.

2. Psychological Factors

Some mental stress or disorders in kids may occur as a result of their psychological trauma. Any kind of physical or sexual trauma or event that makes the child feel vulnerable or lost can trigger mental illness.

3. Emotional Factors

Particular traumatic experiences or repeated exposure to a certain vulnerable environment can also take a toll on a child's mental well-being.

There are a bunch of other factors. However, whatever the reason, you should always be smart enough to catch the signs and look for ways to improve the mental condition of your kid.

Types of Mental Health Challenges in Children

Before moving any further to understand how to improve mental health, it is essential to understand the various challenges that can cause stress in childhood. The common mental health problems in childhood are:


The constant feeling of anxiousness can be a tough situation, especially for children. Anxiety is usually caused when a child deals with numerous fears and worries and finds it difficult to overcome them. It may be caused in school, at home, during play activities, etc. Common signs are:

  • Separation anxiety when away from parents or loved ones
  • Extreme fear of a situation or a person, say doctor
  • General anxiety, which causes fear of something bad happening
  • Social anxiety where a child may resist going to public crowds like market or school
  • Panic disorders where anxiety may lead to increased heart rate, heavy breathing, shaking, etc.

Anxiety can be temporary due to a certain situation, like upcoming exams. But in some cases, it can be severe, which may affect daily activities. Getting behavioural treatment for anxiety can help deal with situations.


Life has its ups and downs, even during childhood, and such situations may lead to sad moments. Feeling sad and hopeless at times is not unusual. However, if the feeling of sadness persists, affecting day-to-day activities, and a child loses interest in their favourite hobbies or finds it difficult to even get out of bed, it may be sign of depression. Seeing a child suffer depression can be overwhelming for parents. But remember, early diagnosis and treatment can help your child. You need to first figure out what causes depression and how it is impacting your child. Common signs are:

  • Constant feelings of hopelessness and sadness
  • No interest in fun activities
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Self-injury behaviours
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Feeling guilty about something


ADHD stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Early diagnosis and behavioral treatment for ADHD can help relax symptoms, or else the situation may continue to even adulthood. Causes of ADHD can be low self-esteem, lack of attention from family and friends, poor performance in school, etc. may lead to ADHD and disrespectful behaviour. Signs may include:

  • Problem paying attention and being easily distracted
  • Tendency to forget basic daily chores
  • Taping of hands or feet or squirming
  • Difficulty sitting at one place and tend to move here and there constantly
  • Too talkative or interrupting the speaker.


PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a mental disorder that can occur after a certain event, like the death of a close person. Symptoms persisting for over a month can become PTSD. Signs include:

  • Nightmares and problem sleeping
  • Overthinking
  • Feeling upset  when remembering memories of sad events
  • Intense sadness or fear
  • Anxiety
  • Losing positive emotions

Behavioural Disorders

Apart from the aforementioned mental challenges, children may also suffer conditions that cause behaviour and conduct problems. These are:

  • Conduct Disorder: Conduct disorder that causes extreme anger and misbehaviour towards others. It can lead to severe problematic situations due to breaking rules and laws or even cause self-harm.
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder: As the name suggests, children between age of 8 and 12 may develop ODD, where they act defiant towards family or friends. Sometimes, it may lead to serious misbehaviour and trouble.

Helping Your Child Deal with Stress and Anxiety

Understanding the causes of stress in early childhood is the first step towards finding the right solution. Be it situations at school, toxic stress at family, a life event, or the loss of a close one, there can be numerous reasons why a child may find it difficult to cope with mental stress.

Parents may wonder how kids can overcome anxiety. One of the best options can be taking your kid to a professional. A counsellor or psychologist can help in a professional way. Often, a child may find it difficult to share feelings with parents, while it may be comfortable for them with a counsellor. You need to make your child comfortable and let them know that mental illness is as normal as physical illness and that treatment is available.

You may counsel your child on your own and ask  what is bothering  him/her. As a matter of next step, you may take your kid to a child counsellor or psychologist. Medicines and lifestyle changes can provide relief from the effects of stress on child development.

>> Also Know: Child Health Insurance

Ways to Improve Child’s Mental Health

Knowing the signs and causes of a child's mental illness is not enough; you should also know how to improve a child's mental health. While parents are very much concerned with their kids’ nutritional practices and their homework, one should make sure not to forget their mental health. Here are some ways to improve your child's mental wellness.

1. Consider Taking Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself is one of the best methods to improve your child's mental journey. It helps create a healthy environment at home, which makes kids feel comfortable.

Remember: Children learn most of the life lessons at home. If you create a healthy environment around yourself, most probably, they'll also learn to do the same.

2. Trust Building

Your bonding with your child plays a crucial role in shaping their mental wellness. And one of the robust ways to improve your relationship is by earning the little one's trust. Help them feel safe and comfortable around you. Create healthy relationships where your child can easily speak their heart out. Sharing everything can make them feel light. Also, encourage them to build new relations like friends.

3. Stress Management Techniques

No matter how much you protect your child, at some point in time, they are bound to face stress. It is a normal part of life. And for that, you should always prepare your kid with stress management techniques.

Try this: Let them explore and learn what activities help them relieve their stress. For example, some kids like to talk, some do art, and others do walking, running, or  other physical activities.

4. Teach Healthy Habits

The things that you do for your child's better physical health also help boost their mental wellness. For example, a good diet, quality sleep, some exercise, and more are a must for a healthy body as well as mind.

So, you should take care of your toddler's physical health as well to ensure that it does not negatively impact their mental wellness.

5. Quality Time is a must

Consider spending lots and lots of time with your little ones. This can help them feel important and happy. The same can help a lot in dealing with stress management and mental illness.

Try this: If your child is a teen, a pre-teen or soon to be an adult, try spending some ‘alone’ and ‘gadget-free’ time with them. Go to a cafe or a movie, do some shopping, or do something as simple as going for a walk together.

How can Mental Health Insurance Help?

Now that you know how does mental health affects child development, you would surely not like to compromise the same. And so, in any case where you feel your child’s mental well-being is going down, consider visiting a psychiatrist.

However, in India, medical treatment, consultation, and much more can be costly services. Here, the right coverage, including mental health care for child can come in handy. These insurance plans help you get quality treatment without spending all your savings. Several healthcare plans include expenses for different services like hospitalisation, expert consultation, and so on.

Summing Up

To ensure your child grows to their full potential and without any emotional baggage, it is important to ensure their mental peace. Parents play a major role in their lives, but teachers, their colleagues, and everyone around them should be responsible for enhancing children's mental health awareness. We all should always make our kids feel loved and positive. However, for any reason, if you feel your child is struggling, show no hesitation and seek help. Childhood traumas and stress can affect the overall personality and mental growth of a child. Watch out for your kids and make sure they count on you when in need and problem. Kids and families are one of the greatest treasures, so let's make sure everyone is at mental ease.

Mental health issues are as serious as physical illness, so, health insurance plans can be a great advantage. Care Health Insurance aims to be there by your side in your journey towards recovery. In times of medical and health needs, Care Health Insurance is there as your support pillar.

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.

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