Teaching children about mental health and what that involves can have a big impact on making them more prepared for life; this is important for a number of reasons in my opinion and can really help reduce stigma and raise awareness by starting with the younger generation.
1. To raise more compassionate adults
By teaching children about struggles that people may be going through and helping them to understand the concept of mental health, we are raising children who are more likely to be compassionate and understanding of others as they grow up and go out into the world.
2. To help them take care of their own mental health
By making children aware of mental health and what that entails, whether they have or will have a mental illness or not, we can teach them the importance of taking care of their own mental health; teaching them to be self aware and to ensure they take care of their mind not just their bodies so that they are more balanced and able to deal with life and stressful situations more effectively.
3. To allow them to understand and recognise symptoms in themselves
Making children aware of what mental illness is, can allow them to recognise symptoms if they do have them and to seek help earlier instead of feeling confused and not understanding what is happening to them as I did when I was younger.
4. So that they never feel alone in their mental illness
If they do grow up to have a mental illness then they already know that this isn’t a rare thing, that they aren’t alone, that there are plenty of other people out there who go through the same things and not only that, that it will be ok and they can get through it and find support.
5. To allow them to help friends and family
Children that are aware of mental health will be more likely to be able to help their family and friends if they are struggling with mental illness as they grow up, already having an idea of what may be wrong and being aware of how to help.
6. To reduce stigma and raise awareness
By teaching the next generation about mental health we are actively reducing the stigma associated it; normalizing talking about mental health and raising awareness, making it a regular part of life just like physical health, can have a huge impact.
7. To raise employers and colleagues who are understanding
We’re raising children into adults who will be more understanding in the workplace of people who may need to take some time off for their mental health or who may need extra support, so that workplaces can become more accepting and people can feel more open in disclosing what they are going through.
8. To raise adults who will teach the next generation
By raising children who accept that mental health is an important and normal part of life, they will be able to carry that out in the world and teach others, whether this be their friends, family, colleagues or their own children later down the line.
9. To create a society that is more supportive and accepting
Teaching people when they are younger about mental health can help on the journey to creating a society that is more mental health aware, more accepting of people who have struggles and more willing and able to be supportive of others.