Posted by Devenia Besant on 09 Feb 2020

As we come to the end of Children’s Mental Health Week I had a chat with therapist Christine Michele Murray about the signs to look out for in relation to our childrens mental wellbeing, she sent me over so useful information which I’ll share with you below:

So do you recognise the signs of stress and anxiety in children (and indeed adults)?

In todays world children are stressed at a younger and younger age. SATs, exams, revision, new schools to name but a few stressors. Children also often are worried and stressed because they pick up on parental or carers stresses such as finances, job prospects or lack of them, health and housing issues. Other issues such as losing a relative close friend or pet, moving house or school, dealing with a long term health condition, witnessing bullying or being bullied can also result in stress or anxiety in a child.

When a child is stressed it doesn’t just affect the child it affects the whole family, the worry, self doubt, inability to move forward and frustration. Often the situation is not only stressful for everyone involved with the child, but creates yet more stress because nobody quite knows what to do to resolve the situation.

It should be said that some stress is good for you, it helps you to perform better in certain situations – such as exams and public speaking, but when you are under continual stress it starts to affect you, physically, mentally, emotionally and it also affects your behaviour. Being in a constant state of stress will eventually lead to the adrenals being depleted and will start to affect all the other systems in your body.

Chronic stress not only disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, leading to more frequent illness, another stressor on top of the stress that is already being experienced. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include:

1. Depression and anxiety
2. Pain of any kind
3. Sleep problems
4. Autoimmune diseases
5. Digestive problems
6. Skin conditions, such as eczema
7. Heart disease
8. Weight problems
9. Reproductive issues
10. Thinking and memory problems

The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. You get used to it. It starts to feel familiar, even normal. You don’t notice how much it is affecting you, even as it takes a heavy toll. It is important to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress overload.

Cognative Symptoms:

• Memory problems.
• Inability to concentrate.
• Poor judgment
• Seeing only the negative
• Anxious or racing thoughts
• Constant worrying

Emotional symptoms:

• Depression or general unhappiness
• Anxiety and agitation
• Moodiness, irritability, or anger
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Loneliness and isolation
• Other mental or emotional health problems

Physical symptoms:

• Aches and pains
• Diarrhoea or constipation
• Nausea, dizziness
• Chest pain, rapid heart rate
• Frequent colds or flu

Behavioural symptoms:

• Eating more or less
• Acting out at home, school or both
• Sleeping too much or too little
• Withdrawing from others
• Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
• Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

Why do people react differently to the same situations? Everyone reacts differently to different situations and what may stress one person out does not stress another. This is because our bodies react to what we believe is a danger to us so we would all experience different levels of stress to the same situation. This is because we all have different beliefs about ourselves and the world, these beliefs are made often when we are very young before the age of 7.

If you believe that your child needs help managing stress, or has stress related symptoms or illnesses do reach out and speak to someone, Christine is always on hand to help and uses a combination of natural therapies and treatments and tailored to the individual and give them simple tools, the self belief and confidence be their best!  You can find out more information on her website here.

The theme for this years Children’s Mental Health Week is Find Your Brave and there are also top tips available –

Dee xx


Devenia Besant
Devenia (Dee) Besant is the founder of Epsom and Ewell Families. Runs a busy household as a mummy of 3 and a wife and some would say crazily committed to helping small businesses and the local community.

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