Mental Health in Bangladesh is well established that it is lacking behind in crucial matters. Proper facilities and even societal stigma towards it push people away from seeking help. The concentration of mental health facilities and doctors in urban areas make it even more inaccessible. When it comes to children, there is no established mental health facility in the country. They are the most venerable age group who are susceptible to multiple mental health problems, but their access and their parent’s reluctance and unawareness make the situation even worse.
Common Mental Health Illnesses Children Face
• Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Parents and Teachers often are unaware and slate ADHD as just children being naughty or unruly. Proper diagnosis and medication help children alleviate this illness like any other illness. As many children go undiagnosed, they suffer into their adulthood. This hinders their mental and physical development and affects their academic progress.
• Anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders do not sound like something children would be affected by, but when under the pressure of board exams, parent’s expectation and other societal factors. They will develop this illness and it can be debilitating in extreme cases. If it goes unnoticed, the symptoms are detrimental to the development of children at this fragile age group.
• Eating disorders
This is often slated as a physical illness by many but often the matter is mental in the centre of it all. They are commonly known as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. These disorders can severely affect the child’s well-being and physical condition. They could suffer from malnutrition to childhood obesity with these disorders. Awareness of these disorders are paramount and seeking help at the earliest sign. Girls are two and a half times more likely to suffer from disorder according to US-based National Institute of Mental Health.
Depression can affect children due to multiple factors and the symptoms vary that of adults. Family problems, academic pressure, bully; many factors can cause depression amongst children and teenagers. Undiagnosed it can lead to severe conditions such as suicidal tendencies. This is why parents should be aware of the signs of depression, such as mood changes or other factors that point towards it. Getting help from good psychiatrist or counsellor can greatly benefit the children in breaking free from this illness and focus on their lives with a clearer vision.
• Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
Autism spectrum disorder is a serious developmental disorder that appears in early childhood — usually before age 3. Though symptoms and severity vary, ASD always affects a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. If misdiagnosed, the student will go through the academic ladder knowing there is a ‘bad’ student but whereas they could have a learning disability like Dyslexia.
Look Into: The Bangladesh Children’s Mental Health Scene
These disorders are among many other that affects thousands of children in Bangladesh. There are horror stories of children being chained to the room because their parents are unaware of their condition and how to heal them. Mental Health in general needs a big public push from the government to make the general population aware of how they can get their children and teen help for mental health. Parents reading up on the disorder online would also be able to alleviate the issue of mental health in children.