Children's Mental Health Week | Supporting Emotional Wellbeing | Aspris UAE Mental Health News and Blog | Aspris Wellbeing Centres UAE

The importance of taking a compassionate approach to children's mental health

As part of Children’s Mental Health Week, Dr Saman Khan tells us about the importance of taking a compassionate approach to children’s mental health, discussing the common challenges children may face, and practical ways to support their emotional wellbeing.

Children’s Mental Health Week gives an opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of children's mental health. It is vital that as a society we look after their wellbeing by encouraging and supporting their emotional, social, and cognitive development.

Children experience a range of emotions, from happiness and excitement to sadness and frustration. However, they may struggle to articulate their feelings or understand the reasons behind them. It is crucial for parents, teachers, and caregivers to recognise the signs of mental health issues in young adults and children. Children reflect their mental health through their behaviour, academic performance, or social interactions.

What challenges do young people face?

  • Academic pressures from a young age - as they become teenagers there are increasing academic demands and children may feel overwhelmed, resulting in mental health problems like stress and anxiety
  • Peer relationships - social interactions can be challenging for children, and issues like bullying or exclusion can impact their mental wellbeing
  • Family life - divorce, conflict, or other challenges within the family, can have a significant impact on a child’s mental health
  • Media influence - exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying through digital devices, unhealthy image comparisons etc can cause common mental health issues in youth

How can we support children's mental health

  • Have an open communication to provide a safe space for children to express their thoughts and emotions without passing judgement. Set time aside to talk about their day, and actively listen to their concerns
  • Teach children to identify and understand their emotions. Help them develop healthy ways to cope with stress. These could be through deep breathing exercises or mindfulness techniques
  • Ensure a healthy balance of activities. They should have a balance between academic, extracurricular, and free-play activities. Over-enthusiastic scheduling can contribute to stress, whilst on the other hand, a lack of stimulation may lead to boredom
  • Emphasise the importance of proper nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep. These factors play a significant role in supporting mental health
  • A must is to limit screen time. It is important to monitor and limit exposure to digital devices. Be involved with them in outdoor activities and encourage face-to-face social interactions
  • Build resilience. This is a key factor in maintaining good mental health. Teaching children to learn from setbacks, adapt to change, and develop problem-solving skills helps their wellbeing. Promote emotional and mental growth where challenges are viewed as opportunities for learning and personal growth
  • If serious concerns arise in the child's mental health, you should consider seeking professional help such as child psychologists or therapists

Child and adolescent mental health is the responsibility of all involved in a child’s life, including parents, teachers, caregivers, and society as a whole. We need to promote an environment where children can thrive emotionally and develop into resilient, well-adjusted individuals.

Our experts at Aspris Wellbeing Centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi can support children, young people and families, creating the best outcomes for young people and their mental health as they embark in the early challenges of life.

Get in touch

If you require further information on our children and adolescent services and how we can help to equip your child with a brighter future, please call our helpful team today on (+971) 4 385 4493 for our Dubai clinic, or (+971) 2 651 8111 for our Abu Dhabi clinic. Alternatively, please click here to make an online enquiry.

Dr Saman Khan, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

This blog was written by Dr Saman Khan. Dr Saman Khan is a well-respected and highly qualified Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with over 20 years’ experience working in the UK in both public and private practice. Saman has extensive experience of working in Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services treating patients presenting with a broad range of psychopathology. View Dr Saman Khan's full profile here.