A psychiatric nurse at the Tamale Central hospital(TCH) Mr. Isaac Borlu, has advised pregnant Pregnant women to visit the antenatal clinic as soon as they realize they are pregnant in order to detect and manage any condition that could affect the mental state of the child before delivery.
Mr Borlu said children can develop nearly the same mental health conditions suffered by adults but their symptoms vary from those of adults.
According to him, signs of mental illness can be hard for parents to identify. As a result, many children who could benefit from treatment do not get the help they need. He mentioned some mental conditions that affect children and young people as mental retardation, attraction deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) which makes a child to have too much energy, very destructive and cannot sit still and pay attention.
He added that about one in every 100 children develops ADHD but boys are three times more likely to get ADHD than girls. When a child has a problem in specific field of learning in school, about 4 in every 100 children have SLD most common in boys. He also mentioned autism as a condition that affects children.
Some signs of mental disturbance in children according to him, includes visible prolonged sadness, delayed speech, delayed period of walking more than twenty months, sleep problems, seeing or hearing strange things that are not real (Hallucination).
Others include loss of interest in friends or favorite activities, sudden decrease in school performance, persistent nightmares, extreme disobedience or aggression, excessive fear or worrying. He has therefore advised mothers to closely observe their children as they grow for any unusual behavioral changes for prompt attention.
He encouraged expectant mothers to deliver their babies in health facilities for early identification of any abnormality. Mothers he said should rash their sick children to the hospital so as to prevent any possible complication of their illnesses which could possibly affect their mental states.
They should not resort to punishing their children with behavioral or mental disturbances but rather seek for professional care. Mr Borlu further encouraged parents not to neglect their children with some forms of mental health conditions but should give them special attention spiced with much love and care and should ensure that such children are enrolled in special institutions for children with mental disabilities.
By: Lilian D. Walter