“My daughter's mental illness has had a big impact on us all. We have had a lot of counselling, and are working out how to rebuild our family.”
A child’s emotional wellbeing and mental health is shaped by both their biology, and the environment in which they live and grow.
Childhood is an important stage for building social and emotional skills to cope with challenges in life. Growing up in a supportive environment may help a child to learn to express thoughts and feelings, and to manage their behaviour. They may also be better able to form healthy relationships with others. Yet, some children who grow up in healthy environments can also develop mental health problems.
Trauma, neglect, forced removal or abandonment can have a major impact on a child's mental health throughout their life. Often mental health problems that arise in adolescence or adulthood are linked to negative experiences as a child. Many families that have a child who has been diagnosed with a mental health condition may need support to understand, accept their child's needs, and help the child through it. Good support and ongoing management are key to recovery.
A closer look
Counselling is currently the most needed service
School services play a crucial role in identifying and referring children with mental health conditions to professional mental health services. Australia is taking student wellbeing seriously - with new programs and policies being put in place, and additional counselling services provided. More than 10% of school students have accessed counselling at school in the previous year. (Source)
1 IN 4 YOUNG AUSTRALIANS CURRENTLY HAVE A MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION
Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by the age of 14 and three-quarters by the age of 24. Some children get better over time, and some need ongoing professional help.(Source)
SUPPORT AND ACCEPTANCE OF CHILDREN WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS IS THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS RECOVERY
With further treatment and care, children with a mental health condition can learn ways to cope and even thrive, despite their difficulties. (Source)
CHILDHOOD TRAUMA CAN LAST A LIFETIME
Being a witness to violent or distressing acts—either in real life or on a screen—can be traumatic, and potentially damage a child’s mental health. Adult survivors of childhood trauma often experience mental health problems such as relationships difficulties and substance abuse.(Source)
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool (opens in a new tab).