Knowing the Early Signs
As a parent, how can you really know if your child is suffering from a mental health illness?
I had the chance to chat with a Canadian Mental Health Association Clinical Therapist, Ida Zarrabi who always found herself wanting to give emotional support to people and become their safe space. After years of extensive training and working with several different youth groups, Ida says that some of the most important steps to be taken in treating your child’s mental health issues are being able to identify the signs early on. Is your child more withdrawn from social activities compared to before? Are they not looking after their basic hygiene? Or even staying in their room for days on end? These are some of the many early warnings signs a parent should look out for.
One of the hardest things any young individual can do is even come to terms with the fact that they may be struggling mentally or emotionally. Ida strongly believes that one of the key components of going to therapy is making sure that you’re developing an open and honest relationship with your therapist. This is especially crucial because therapy has to be the safest space for you to express your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Getting the Help You Need
Dr. Zarrabi’s approach with her clients is building trust with them and giving them reassurance and compassion because that is a fundamental aspect of therapy. Dr. Zarrabi phrases it as “showing up for the person is so critical, because that authenticity ultimately comes through.” Patients have to know that the professional sitting in front of them will ask all of the essential questions to understand the depth of what they’re experiencing. That being said, if the professional doesn’t offer a sense of comfort and reassurance, that may really trigger the patient. This may also turn them away from opening up anymore or they might leave the session feeling like they’re the problem. The guidance and energy of the physician is vital.
Dr. Zarrabi also mentions the importance of resources like DSM, Diagnostics and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders. This is a database that helps guide professionals on how to better navigate and understand their patients’ illnesse or illnesses, providing the appropriate diagnoses and coming up with tools to better assist the patient. That being said, to find the right professional, a few important steps are involved; pinpointing the areas that you’re struggling in, what you want out from your therapist and finally, finding the style of therapy most suitable to you.