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Mental Illnesses and the Young

Recently I received an email from a friend from school. This was someone that I had not talked to in over fifteen years. In the email, they told me about their young child who was diagnosed as bipolar last year. The conversation has made me think about children who are diagnosed with one form of mental illness or another.

While mental illnesses are difficult on anyone, they are especially difficult on children.

Kids with mental illnesses are seen as very different because their behavior pattern does not fall within the ‘norms’ that society has arbitrarily set. Often time’s children tend to be mean to other kids that are different from them in some way. This is often not out of malice, but more often, it is a result of not understanding why the other kid is not like them.

Another challenge for children understands their mental illness. Understanding mental illnesses is difficult at any age largely in part because of the stigma attached to them as well as the complexity of the human mind.

Further complicating matters is the fact that often times children; as many adults, are afraid of things they do not know. This fear can cause the child to hide from or deny the problems they are facing.

If fully educated adults, who have studied the brain for decades still, do not fully understand mental illnesses, how do you explain it to a young child? You have to explain it to them in a way they understand, which entails simplifying a complex item. However, before you can do that, you MUST understand it yourself.

Posted: July 15th, 2011 under Mental Health Awareness.

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