Recognizing that your child is struggling with mental health issues is not easy; The signs can be subtle and teens in particular may hold back from telling their parents how they’re really feeling. New Channel 4 drama, I Am Ruth, starring Kate Winslet (Ruth) and her daughter Mia Threapleton (Freya), explores the breakdown of the relationship between mother and daughter, as the mother navigates her child’s emerging mental health issues tries to do
Initially, Ruth appears to be in denial about her daughter’s declining mental health. But, as Freya’s symptoms intensify and she becomes more withdrawn, Ruth seeks outside help to support her daughter. An intense, and at times uncomfortable watch, this insightful drama explores the difficulty parents face when dealing with a child whose mental health is suffering and why it’s essential not to ignore the warning signs.
Mental health issues are on the rise among youth. Between 2017 and 2021, the proportion of six- to 16-year-olds with a possible mental health condition increased from one in nine (11.6%) to one in six (17.4%). NHS survey, It is important for parents to be able to recognize – and act on – the early signs so that they can support their children. We talked to mental health experts about the behavioral changes you shouldn’t ignore when it comes to your child or teen’s mental health. If any of the symptoms in this guide match your and your child’s behaviour, channel 4 support program Provides advice and support regarding topics explored on his show.
Warning Signs Your Child’s Mental Health May Be Suffering
1. They have become more forgetful than usual
as seen in I’m Ruth One of the most confusing signs of declining mental health can be forgetfulness and preoccupation. Freya explains to a doctor that over the past month, she has begun to forget things during her daily life, leaving her feeling fearful and confused.
As Dr. Fiona Yassin, Family Psychiatrist and Founder and Clinical Director of Lahar Clinic (opens in new tab), points out, this is not unusual. “Forgetfulness, confusion, or an inability to concentrate are some of the more subtle signs of an underlying mental health problem,” she explains. This can eventually have a negative effect on school work – another warning sign to watch for. young minds (opens in new tab)A mental health charity for young people providing free advice online, is a useful Section on Understanding Behavior and Emotions (opens in new tab),
2. If a child or adolescent becomes quarrelsome
i’m ruth Ruth’s relationship with her daughter descends into turmoil, with some explosive arguments between mother and daughter. Clinical psychologist and co-founder Dr Jenna Vyas-Lee explains, “Excessive oppositional behavior can often be a sign of a young person’s need to have some control over their life – so it’s worth considering whether it could be driven by anxiety Is.” mental health care clinic cove (opens in new tab), Parents may face difficulties with classmates, friendships and relationships at home.
We see Ruth internalize her daughter’s behavior, scolding her and how it makes her feel, but experts warn it’s important to stay calm and avoid drawing parallels. “Parents can very quickly downplay issues or draw a parallel to a small thing that happened once in their lives,” explains psychotherapist and co-founder of Cove, Jordan Vyas-Lee. “They inadvertently blame or shame the child for their role in creating or easing difficulties.”
young minds (opens in new tab) is also Features on how to help a young person manage anger (opens in new tab)With expert-approved tips on how to calm a volatile situation.
3. Waking up late and being extremely tired
In the Channel 4 show, we see Freya staying up late with notifications on her phone, much to her mother Ruth’s dismay. If your child’s sleeping habits change, it could be a warning sign that their mental health is taking a turn, or that something worrying is going on behind the scenes. “Look out if a child is staying up later than usual – young people who are protecting themselves against online attacks can become hypervigilant and stay awake longer than usual. This also means that They may come home from school more tired and in a depressed mood.”
4. Physical symptoms without explanation
Our physical and mental health are closely linked and if a child is suffering from recurring physical symptoms that are not related to a previously diagnosed illness or disease, it could be a sign that they are suffering from mental illness. are seriously unwell.
“The symptoms of mental health difficulties in children can show up physically in a number of ways,” explains Dr Fiona Yassin. “Often, young people present with physical manifestations of mental health difficulties. This can mean headache, stomach pain, nausea, or chest tightness.
5. Behavioral changes like hair pulling and skin picking
Anxiety is often the root of mental health issues, so it’s important to recognize worrying behaviors. Dr Fiona Yassin explains that some of the most common anxious behaviors include skin picking or hair pulling.
Dr. Yasin told us, “Behavioral signs include tumbling or playing with the hair, maybe running their fingers down the shaft of their hair and breaking it.” “Many kids who have high anxiety will display symptoms of something called trichotillomania, which is pulling and picking and you may notice they start biting the skin around their nails or at the tips of their toes. picks at fingernails or scratches the skin on the bottom of their feet. These are all displays of high-anxiety behavior and should be addressed sensitively and quickly.”
as we see in i’m ruthThe rise of social media can have harmful effects on children and teenagers – and this is an area that can be particularly difficult to protect. “For adolescents and young adults, the prevalence of social media is embedded in the fabric of their daily lives. They may not remember a time without social media and therefore may not be aware that it is affecting their mental health. But what can be the effect,” explains Dr. Yasin.
“Young people are constantly bombarded with what their friends, peers, and idols are doing, which can make them feel neglected. And if their posts aren’t getting enough likes and comments than their friends’, young people may feel inadequate and anxious and begin to think that they are not good enough.
“Social and mass media have the greatest impact on those who are most vulnerable, especially those whose self-esteem comes from how others see or respond to them, and who want to fit in.”
There is also a risk, as we see in i’m ruth, that children may be exposed to harmful material. “Exposure to developmentally inappropriate material, for example, over-sexualized, offensive or violent material, is a major risk. Excessive exposure to this type of material has lasting effects on children’s emotional well-being and brain development.
There’s no set rule about how much social media children and teens should consume, but the consensus of experts is that as little screen time as possible will help protect them from the risks.
“The Royal College of Paediatrics recommends parents approach screen time based on a child’s developmental age [meaning that the younger the child is, the less exposure they have]Dr. Vyas-Lee explains. “Families should place a value on positive activities such as socialization, exercise and sleep.”
I Am Ruth is now available to stream on All 4