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This report sheds light on the mental health condition of children and adolescents below 18 years suffering from anxiety or depression. It shows the impact of mental conditioning on the selected group and the extent of service that they get due to their conditions. The report is to be prepared based on the perspective of the service users such as their experience, interventions, and impacts of the illness on members of the group. The report draws relevance from the qualitative data extracted from primary research studies narrating the experience of the group members or their immediate family members. Lastly, the report offers a critique of the quality and amount of the service that they receive in the UK scenario.
Critical analysis of the mental illness impact on the chosen group
The 2017 Mental Health of Children and Young People estimates that one in seven adolescents about 15% of the population aged 11-18 years have mental disorders (Al-Zawaadi, et al., 2021). Mental health-related issues are leading factors for disabilities among children and adolescents globally. The issue is also persistent in the UK scenario wherein the cases of mental illness increase during adolescence. Globally 20% of children and adolescents are suffering from sorts of mental diseases.
This is a concern as adolescence builds the foundation for health and well-being for adulthood. In the UK, 13% of boys and 10% of girls in the age category of 11-16 years have mental health issues (Branley-Bell & Talbot, 2020). The boys suffer from conduct disorders while the girls undergo emotional disorders.
Adolescence in humans shows a significant level of vulnerability that leads to depression. This particular age group is susceptible to the highest risk of having depression. The matter is not only limited to individuals but has a major societal impact as well (Armitage, et al., 2020). The kids undergo lasting and severe depression leading to psychosocial impacts on employment and educational achievement.
It means that children and adolescents suffering from anxiety or depression cannot concentrate on their studies (Crouch, 2019). Their lack of concentration in studies will have an impact on talent in the employment market. Contrarily, the market will also lose local talent and the jobs to be passed on elsewhere. The distress of the children is painful for the parents as well and they feel helpless in the situation.
Perspectives of the suffering adolescents on the issue –
Some adolescents perceive the issue of anxiety and depression as typical adolescent concerns as they struggle to be a part of a bigger group and try to fit in. Moreover, academic pressure enhances their anxiety which may bring severe consequences to them as they step into adulthood (Acker, et al., 2018). Panic attacks have been common during adolescence leading to severe mental health issues.
Some children openly admit that their condition often embarrasses them and try to avoid social gatherings. They feel that society or people around them perceive them in a different light which is painful (Hewitt, et al., 2021). To them, panic attacks in such conditions are recurrent and it is overwhelming like a natural disaster.
Again, some adolescents stated that they were unprepared during panic attacks which makes them quite vulnerable (Crouch, 2019). They admit countering a dual battle, one is the struggle to contain the panic attacks and the other is to deal with people owing to such conditions. For instance, an individual suffering from panic attacks and anxiety often feels lonely at school as kids of his age avoid him.
It is not only friends and classmates at school, the kids shut themselves from their families as well like siblings and parents (Wadman, 2018). The painful aspect, in this case, is that they cannot express or control their feelings momentarily. To them, it is like the body and the soul are two different entities and both of them are struggling.
Anxiety patients confess that panic attacks make them physically, mentally, and emotionally weak (Armitage, et al., 2020). It results in their lower concentration as they lack clarity about their surroundings. The phenomenon also harms their studies. Such a condition often transpires them to a fearsome state that the targeted segment seldom wants to experience (Hewitt, et al., 2021). Though they hate the concept, anxiety disorders make them aloof from societal influences.
They may want to participate in an event but fear repercussions or a cold shoulder from other children or members of the community (Thompson, 2017). The sad part is that often people refuse to understand the condition of the children undergoing mental health issues. Lack of awareness of mental health issues is making them more desolate, depressive, and craving for help but they are too shy to ask for it. In such a scenario, the adolescents look up to their parents for the requisite support.
Perspectives of the mothers on the issue –
In most cases, parents play a significant role in supporting their adolescent children to recover by facilitating their treatment. This study focuses on the perspective of the parents, especially mothers of those kids suffering from depression (Armitage, et al., 2020). Some of the mothers interviewed admit that they find it difficult to accept their kids’ situation and want to blame someone else.
The mothers of depressed kids believe that they may not be good parents which pushes their adolescent children to the verge of depression (Edbrooke-Childs, 2018). But they are quite affirmative in keeping their broods happy and secure to fight the disease. Again, some parents find it hard to deal with the situation that their families are undergoing as mental illness is a shame to them.
Some mothers of those kids feel guilty and ashamed of their adolescent children’s mental condition and seek professional help. The trend of self-blame often harms their kid indirectly as they experience a difficult atmosphere at home pushing them further into a depressive state (Al-Zawaadi, et al., 2021). But it is not always the mothers’ or any parent’s fault, people tend to be judgemental to parents, especially the mothers for their kids' depression.
It is like they cannot be a good mother or take care of their young children as young as 10 or 11 which leads to anxiety or sorts of mental disorders. This kind of societal behaviour towards them feel vulnerable and they seem desolate in the battle to support their depressed children (Smith, 2018).
Despite such social stigma towards the mothers of depressed children, they seem to be resilient for the sake of their broods. Some mothers prefer to avoid those who try to demean them or their children because of their children’s mental health issues (Thompson, 2017). In certain cases, the mothers have become more responsible and try to adopt good parenting skills.
They do so by dropping them off at school and picking them up as well, asking them about their class activities, planning a weekend getaway, and having meals together. These activities strengthen the bond between the mother and child and help the latter fight depression (Wadman, 2018). Many mothers agree that the growing bond with their children has helped fight anxiety disorders and depression. Again, some mothers view chemical imbalance as the cause of depression as students of a particular age group go through it.
Simultaneously, it is a fact that mothers of depressed kids live under the uncertainty that their children may inflict self-harm on themselves. This is because such a mental state often promotes suicidal thoughts among children. The mothers claim that they successfully avert the factors that may encourage their children to self-harm like removing knives and other sharp objects from the kitchen (Hewitt, et al., 2021). This is to limit their access to such objects so that they cannot indulge in self-harming.
Despite that, the mothers cannot get over the fear from their minds on their children’s self-harming nature or suicidal thoughts. Besides they are also concerned about their children’s future as anxiety and depression take a toll on their studies (Branley-Bell & Talbot, 2020). The phenomenon has long-term implications for their future as it is directly connected with their employability in a competitive market.
Medical intervention for children and adolescents to fight anxiety and depression –
A child or a young adult suffers from anxiety or depression due to various issues like bullying in schools, family issues, physical or emotional abuse, or even a family’s mental health history. But the parents or the carers ought to be aware of the child’s condition and undertake measures to heal them of the disease (Armitage, et al., 2020). If a child faces trouble in school or the neighbourhood like older children bullying him, the parents should not ignore it. Making them talk about their problems may sometimes resolve the issue at an early stage (nhs.uk, 2023). Schools in the UK have counsellors to take care of such things. The parents can even seek further professional help if the problem persists.
Indeed, research and studies in the field of mental health have found a new direction to help out those suffering from mental health issues (Acker, et al., 2018). It is indicative for young children as well. Proper awareness of depression and anxiety disorders is encouraged which is quite helpful to do away with the social stigma (Edbrooke-Childs, 2018).
The widely acclaimed government-run health institution in the UK – National Health Services (NHS) runs campaigns on mental health issues. This is to encourage educational institutions to discuss such issues (Al-Zawaadi, et al., 2021). It helps to eradicate the social stigma attached to mental health issues as a bold step in facilitating requisite professional help to children suffering from anxiety disorders and depression.
Support systems provided to children and adolescents to fight depression and anxiety
Some of the children undergoing treatment and their parents are happy with the progress. It seems regular counselling and medication are doing wonders for them (Branley-Bell & Talbot, 2020). They are consistently following the instructions of the doctors and trying to keep themselves calm and composed. Because such a stance often helps them to recover from their dismal mental health state (Acker, et al., 2018). However, some of the mothers of patients with depression and anxiety disorders feel that more should be done to provide quick relief to their kids. It is the usual motherly urge that cannot see their children going through panic attacks or anxiety disorders (Crouch, 2019).
The perception of the selected group may vary person-to-person. In reality, the UK authorities are trying to organise effective campaigns to raise awareness of mental health issues. Institutions like NHS have specialised clinics to facilitate the treatment of young children and adolescents suffering from mental health problems (nhs.uk, 2023). The students are happy to have an NHS workshop at their schools to raise awareness of mental health diseases like any other physical diseases. This kind of activity helps people to understand the relevance of mental health and the means to curb it rather than keep it hidden or deny it (Hewitt, et al., 2021). The kids and their parents acknowledge that this sort of activity can help them to feel a part of society once again.
The paper showcases the perspective of young children and adolescents from 11-18 years as they suffer from anxiety disorders and depression. A majority of them find it difficult to accept their situation and so do their parents. But both the children and their parents put up a brave fight. They confess that it may be difficult to face people as mental illness carries a sort of social stigma but they look forward to a better future. The mothers are quite supportive of their children in this fight though they sometimes question or blame themselves for the kids' mental conditioning. The UK authorities such as NHS are extending out a hand of support by raising awareness campaigns on mental health problems and measures to counter those for the complete healing of those kids.
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Al-Zawaadi, A., Hesso, I. & Kayyali, R., 2021. Mental Health Among School-Going Adolescents in Greater London: A Cross-Sectional Study. Front Psychiatry, Volume 12, pp. 1-11.
Armitage, S., Parkinson, M., Halligan, S. & Reynolds, S., 2020. Mothers’ Experiences of Having an Adolescent Child with Depression: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Journal of Child and Family Studies, Volume 29, pp. 1617-1629.
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