The importance of holistic mental health care for children

With new pressures put on children and young adults every day – from exams and career choices to new social interactions and a changing landscape for their future – it can be difficult for them to manage their own emotions and physical well-being, as well as the challenge of growing up.

But, despite so many children needing support, only one in four young people will actively seek help on their own. Instead, research has shown that children and young people are more likely to use informal support sources (like online support), or seek the support offered by primary care professionals.

And, while many schools offer basic well-being programmes that cover things like stress management, many students could benefit from more tailored support from industry professionals.

I believe there is nothing more important than good mental health. While it might not seem like it, your mental health is just as important, if not more so, than your physical health.

When it comes to our children, there are so many pressures put on them that, sometimes, their mental well-being starts to suffer. When that happens, it’s our job to make sure they understand how to cope with the stresses of life in a healthy way, so that they can develop the resilience they need to lead happy, healthy lives. 

The school environment has a significant impact on a young person’s emotional welfare. For a teenager’s well-being to thrive during (and outside of) school hours, there need to be resources available to further their development, support them through any issues and provide them with the information and education they need to become healthy and resilient adults. By exploring the root causes and providing a safe environment to support treatment options, schools can play a huge part in creating happy, healthy students. 

Why holistic mental health care?

I understand that not everyone will want to go down the route of doctors and medication when it comes to their mental health, especially children and young adults. But there are a wide range of different options available to help manage and treat mental health problems in children, teenagers and young adults – if you know where to look. 

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to mental health that works effectively. Everyone is different and what works for one will not necessarily work for another with the same problem. We need to step away from this thinking to ensure the next generation is properly educated around mental health and there are many solutions available. 

As Albert Einstein once said, “I believe in standardising automobiles. I do not believe in standardising human beings.”

I’ve been working with a variety of therapists in schools and, across the age ranges we have taught (from four to 16 years old), it is clear that children of all ages want to know more, and they want more options than they are currently being offered. 

With the older groups, we work with the classes offered in EFT, meditation and mindfulness (which are self-elected). Usually, around 50% of the students elect themselves to come – far more than we expected! This shows the need this age group has; they are crying out for help and we are just not doing enough.

I believe in treating a person as a whole, not just as a list of symptoms. I and the therapists we work with take the time to listen to students and their problems and suggest different options to choose from. We teach and support them not only in treating acute issues but helping build and develop a selection of tools that can help students of all ages manage their mental health in the future.

I believe that everyone, including young people, should have access to information about mental health, as well as the support and resources they need to manage any issues they may have. I and all of the therapists we work with at The Holistic Healthcare Group are dedicated to not only helping treat mental health issues, but also to spreading information and support in an easy, affordable and non-judgemental way.

We do this not only by providing a safe space to explore your treatment options but by providing education, guidance and encouragement to schools who want to support their student’s mental health. We are firm believers that, with all of the information, people will be able to make the right decisions for their own mental health, every time. This education needs to start at school.

To find out more about Sophie and her work or to contact her, visit the Surrey and Hampshire Well-being Clinic.

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Written by Sophie Kirk
Sophie Kirk is the founder of The Holistic Healthcare Group and Director of the Surrey and Hampshire Well-being Clinic.
Written by Sophie Kirk
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