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World Mental Health Day 2021: Importance of Mental Health of Children

October 07, 2021    7 min read

When we think of mental health, we think of adults and the stresses in their lives that cause strain on their emotional wellbeing. But children are equally at-risk and with the pandemic disrupting school-going kids’ lives, including uncertainties on returning to school, exams, adoption of new methods of learning and hence their safety needs to be brought to the forefront and addressed.

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day 2021, UNICEF has released a report on The State of the World's Children 2021 report, which states that an estimated 13 per cent of adolescents aged 10–19 is estimated to live with a diagnosed mental disorder.

While mental health has been an important area of concern across age groups, and needs to be an ongoing effort, the pandemic has brought the limelight on children as well.

2021 is the third year of the pandemic and the interruption to routines, education, recreation, as well as concern for family income and health, is leaving many young people feeling afraid, angry and concerned about their lives. With vaccines for kids still not as widely available, they need to be our focus.

Here are five ways to boost the mental health in kids:

  1. Balanced diet: we know that food is required for physical health but the same applies for mental health as well. The right food can regulate children’s moods and emotional health. Fruits such as bananas, vegetables such as sweet potatoes, seafood such as salmon and lentils are known to be extremely beneficial for kids to achieve mental balance. It is important to get kids accustomed to eating a balanced diet with key items such as these for lifetime of good mental health.
  2. Regular playtime: There is a reason they say – all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! A regular playtime can give them the adequate physical exercise that they need. It is also helps them socialize and adapt to social settings. Spending time outdoors playing a sport or game, can give them the required exposure to vitamin D. Mental games are equally important and have their own set of advantages.
  3. Family time: With stressful jobs and the routine of daily life, we can sometimes use a break. Apart from dedicated family time, kids can get extra attention from parents on family holidays and it helps them build healthy relationships, long term bonds with those they need to lean on during tough times.
  4. Creating a healthy home environment: Kids spend most of their time at home and is the environment that impacts them the most. It is important for parents to ensure that home is seen a safe and positive place to be. Communication and attention is important among all family members and can instill a sense of trust when they may require each other the most.
  5. Spending time in nature: Spending time outdoors with nature and animals lowers stress hormones and releases oxytocin, which stimulates a feeling of calm and happiness. Having a pet or going to a park/zoo can also cause holistic growth in a child.

As school-from-home and blended learning become the norm, children are at home more than before and require adequate attention as their cognitive ability to deal with drastic changes may not be as high as that of adults. Their mental health needs to be centerstage as we slowly return to normal. With traditional classrooms being disrupted, traditional ways of learning are also in need of a rethink.

Experiential learning can give children a sense of the real-world experience, retain concepts better and reduce overall screen time. Head to the Practically app for 3D videos, simulations and AR experiences! Also try out the new Scan Anything feature which helps you to learn from daily objects around you. When learning is fun, it is also less stressful

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