Mental Health Conditions Play a Key Role in Overall Health

Child sitting with blank paper, surrounded by art supplies. Mental Health conditions in kids are important to address.

There is little room to doubt that over the past few decades diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions has come a long ways. Today, a greater percentage of individuals suffering from various mental health issues are able to get the treatment they need, and now it is often covered in part through their insurance plan. However, as a society, we still have a long ways to go in breaking down a number of the stigmas that are frequently associated with seeking treatment for mental health conditions.

Children and Mental Health Conditions

Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking of these stigmas is centered around children and young adults dealing with mental health conditions.

According to researchers Joy D. Osofsky and Alicia F. Lieberman, nearly one in five children in poverty has a diagnosable mental health issue such as depression or anxiety. Often times these issues are developed as a result of early childhood trauma and, if left untreated, can evolve into mental health conditions that can impact the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, these are not the only situations in which mental health conditions may be disregarded or untreated. Many parents with children that show symptoms of ADHD are told they are overreacting and that their child is just rambunctious or free spirited. Although more children are treated than previously, boys are still diagnosed two to three times more often than girls even though research suggests that the conditions is not gender associated.

Lasting Impacts of Mental Health Conditions in Childhood

If left untreated, mental health conditions in our children can have severe impacts on their long-term development into happy, healthy adults. They have been linked to low self-esteem, difficulty performing well in school, struggles in maintaining relationships, and sometimes feelings of isolation. Additionally, some mental health conditions put individuals at greater risk for being diagnosed with other mental health issues.

Furthermore, mental health has been so tightly linked to physical health that the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated “there is no health without mental health”. Individuals with poor mental health status are at a higher risk for experiencing chronic physical conditions, becoming obese, and having an unhealthy diet. Alternatively, physical outlets such as regular exercise have been associated with improvements in mental health which suggests that an active lifestyle can be a good way to mediate condition flare ups.

Finding Help for Mental Health Conditions

For children that are experiencing mental health issues, there are a number of treatment options or ways in which to get help. As previously mentioned, developing an active daily regime might lead to some improvement. Furthermore, changing parts of your child’s diet could also help as well as utilizing meditation or other smartphone applications used by social workers to treat patients. A number of the meditation apps have been designed with children in mind and can help improve both mindfulness and mental health.

Finally, there are a number of organizations created specifically with youth mental health in mind that can be great resources for finding a doctor, therapist, support group, or alternative treatment method near you. Mental health conditions, especially in our children, are serious conditions that should be treated with the same level of awareness as physical conditions. Understanding the impacts of mental health is a great first step towards reducing stigmas.

Brittni Brown

Brittni Brown is a current Masters candidate at the University of Idaho. In her free time she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and camping.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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  1. Lisa D. Richards

    Children are vulnerable object mentally. we should be concerned about the child’s mental health. thank you!

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  2. Hans de Rycke

    ‘there is no health without mental health’ should be read the other way around for accuracy. There is no mental health problem with health, in particular with physical health.
    Dr Iris Chen writes; ‘Children with ADHD may suffer from food allergies. They could be losing vital vitamins, iron and even zinc because of their allergy to dairy products, wheat, corn, yeast, soy, citrus, eggs, chocolate, peanuts and artificial colors and preservatives.
    Research has also shown that iron levels are low in children suffering from ADHD. The children’s serum ferritin levels were measured to determine their iron status. It was seen that one-third of the ADHD children had a very low range of iron levels. It was noticed that the lower the iron levels, the higher the severity of the ADHD symptoms.’
    Many people with mental health problems test positive for IgA and IgG (immune) reactivity against the cow dairy protein (bovine casein). Such reactions may be involved in severe psychiatric disorders such as bipolar, but also as a causal factor in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
    Honglei Chen, Eilis O’Reilly, Marjorie L. McCullough, Carmen Rodriguez, Michael A. Schwarzschild, Eugenia E. Calle, Michael J. Thun, and Alberto Ascherio. These reseachers investigated the association between dairy intake and risk of Parkinson’s disease among 57,689 men and 73,175 women from the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort from the American Cancer Society and found; ‘In summary, accumulating evidence from this and previous prospective studies supports a positive association between dairy consumption and risk of Parkinson’s disease, particularly in men.
    Inflammation and other immune processes are increasingly linked to psychiatric diseases. . .   Anti-casein IgG associations with bipolar I diagnoses, psychotic symptom history, and mania severity scores suggest that casein-related immune activation may relate to the psychosis and mania components of this mood disorder.
    Canadian Dr. Erwin Koranyi, reporting on this in the Archives of General Psychology in 1979, stated, “No single psychiatric symptom exists that cannot at times be caused or aggravated by various physical illnesses. Allergies causes a vast array of standard physical problems such as Lyme Disease, certain forms of epilepsy, diabetes, hepatitis, back problems, toxicity,and glandular malfunctions., yet it is the last thing the medical system will look for.
    Dr. William Philpott found that 92% of those with mental disorders reacted to one or more substances as follows: · Wheat – 64% · Mature corn – 51% · Pasteurized whole cow milk – 50% · Tobacco – 75% with 10% becoming grossly psychotic, with delusions, hallucinations, and, especially, paranoia · Hydrocarbons – 30%. Weakness was common. Some participants reacted with delusions or suicidal inclinations.

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