Supporting children's mental health and wellbeing
Supporting children's mental health and wellbeing

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Supporting children's mental health and wellbeing

Session 2: Increasing your knowledge of mental health


It may be an obvious statement to make, but increasing your knowledge of the language relating to mental health can increase your understanding and, in turn, this can help to increase your confidence in supporting children’s mental health. In this session, you will look at definitions of some of the mental health conditions that commonly affect young children. These include anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, phobias and behaviour disorders. Other pertinent issues, in particular school refusal and sleep problems, will also be explored. You will look at the impact of mental health issues on children’s education and development, and identify some possible ‘triggers’ for children’s anxiety in early childhood and school settings.

Now listen to the following audio in which Jackie Musgrave, one of the course authors, introduces the session.

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Transcript: Audio 1

It may be an obvious statement to make, but gaining a knowledge about mental health in relation to young children will help you to feel more confident about how to support them. This week explains that in the same way that physical health can vary and change, so can mental health. To illustrate this point, we compare mental health to a windscreen wiper, because our mental health can go from being described as good across to being described as poor. It can move backwards and forwards across the spectrum. It isn't static.
In relation to young children, this can be challenging because young children's behaviour can be influenced by their age and stage of development. Therefore, this week looks at the importance of having knowledge about what behaviour is expected at what age. We also look at some of the definitions of common mental health conditions that are affecting children now.
We highlight that physical and mental health are interrelated. Increasing numbers of children are being diagnosed with ongoing physical health conditions, such as asthma and eczema. So it is important to understand how such conditions can impact on young children's mental health. This week's session starts to explore how mental health can affect their education experience. Again, there is a practice quiz. Enjoy week two.
End transcript: Audio 1
Audio 1
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By the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • appreciate that children’s mental health can vary for individuals and over time
  • describe some of the common mental health conditions that affect children
  • understand some of the factors that are associated with mental ill-health in children
  • explore some of the effects of poor mental health and illness on children’s education and development
  • identify ‘triggers’ for anxiety in children.

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