Friday, July 29, 2011

Global Children's Initiative

I chose to explore Child Mental Illness in my blog this week.  With teachers more and more often, asking for help with children displaying behavior problems in their classrooms, I felt this is an issue worth taking a look at and in the process, I gained new insights.

 Insight #1 -" Child mental health concerns are under addressed that have significant implications for broader health and development of children and societies".
Head Start includes Mental Health as a component in the lesson plans teachers develop.  "Second Step" is used to guide children through difficult issues they are encountering or may encounter  in their lives.This is not the only resource teachers can use but it is effective when addressing child mental health concerns.

Insight #2 - "The emergence of mental health concerns in young children occurs within the context of an environment of relationships plays a critical role in shaping a child's social, emotional, and behavioral problems when children are young is an important societal issue that should be given the same attention as concerns about cognition and early language development".
This bodes to the nature versus nurture theory we all have read and heard about.  Questions that arise concerning whether behavior problems are caused by bad parenting skills, inefficient classroom management, chemical reactions to foods and environmental toxins are continually being asked and researched so that reasons for the behavior problems in children can be easily explained and helped.

Insight #3 - "Child mental illness is a real thing.  Children who experience persistent symptoms of mental illness are impacted in a wide range of areas from schools to social abilities, to proficiency in dealing with issues and challenges of everyday life.  Child mental illness affects the success of the individual for the rest of their lives".
Many times a child's behavior problems are attributed to lack of discipline, precociousness, ADD/ADHD or a myriad of other reasons.  The average person does not want to admit or believe that mental illness exists in children.  How would something that does not exist in a child affect them for the rest of their life?  These are the children placed in special education classes, or labeled throughout their school experience as "bad", "problems", "weird"," incorrigible" and other negative descriptions that impacts the child in other areas of their development.
The most important insight I received came as an explanation of mental illness in children that could be understood by a lay person. That explanation stated that "child mental illness could be conceptualized as an inability for children to function in developmentally culturally standard patterns.  Explaining child mental illness as a functioning issue is easier for the non-professional to understand and be less resistant to recognizing certain diagnoses, like depression.  Treatments for child mental illness can be conceptualized as ways of helping kids function, rather than treating an illness".




  1. Stephanie,
    Thank you for choosing this issue to share about Teachers do seem to struggle with understanding behavior in their classrooms. I think sometimes they feel the child is doing something "on purpose" just to "annoy the teacher" when in reality the child may not have any control over their actions. I do not think a lot of people really believe that young children could be suffering from mental illness. Thank you for making this a reality and giving me resources to pass on to other professionals in our field.

  2. I understand first hand the problems teachers face with children that suffer with mental illness. As a 2nd grade assistant I had the opportunity to see how children with mental illness affects the classroom setting. It was very difficult for the teachers and children to stay focus. As an assistant I had no ideal how to deal with children with mental illness. So you addressing this subject was wery helpful. I also dealth with this subject matter through the website provided for the blog assignment.

  3. Thank you, Stephanie.

    This is one of those things that ought not to be. Children need to be nurtured, protected and absolutely loved!

    I suppose there are congenital issues as well as many that could use responsible parenting.

    I heard the father of the young man that caused such havoc in Norway a short time ago interviewed on CNN. He left when the child was one year and had not seen him since he was 16. He had the audacity to disown him on international media. Too bad Dad, he abandaned him years ago. What the young man did was wrong but perhaps if he had that someone in his life that believed in him unconditionally, things could have been different.

    These precious little minds are bright and elastic but also fragile needing to be gently and intentionally cared for.

    Thanks for your blog.


  4. This subject is a big factor in school today, I have a friend her son was so out of control he would get so upset because he didn't know how to do something and he would start throwing things like his chair, curssing out the teacher and so on into she had no choice but for him to recieve some type of medication which it calmed him down and he was able to think, concentrate, and controll his behavior in class. This medicine treated his condition in order to get him to do the work instead of getting so worked up. It was the best thing for him because if he would have continued this type of behavior he would have ended up in juvenile hall. Great Post