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Understanding our Children. We have a lot to learn.

Jul 11, 13 Understanding our Children. We have a lot to learn.

Just finished an event on Child and Adolescent Psychology (ESCAP 2013) which ran for 5 days at the Convention Centre in Dublin. One thing came to mind, why do we have so many Child Psychiatrists?

The answer, I have come to believe is because we have failed our children, we have failed to understand them, we also put to much pressure on them to understand things before their time. In a way we allow them to grow up too quickly and then expect them to understand everything a adult does. We no longer let kids be kids and when they do cry for help, we don’t understand them or the support is not there to help them.

Stigma, mental health, child abuse, we have failed our children and continue to do so. There are over 30 organisations in Ireland devoted to child services and over 50 devoted child and adolescent. These services are busier than ever and in fact are under huge pressure to stay up and running. The Child Mental Health coalition was set-up to put pressure on the government to do more for the kids of Ireland. Their vision is..

“That Ireland should be one of the best places in the world to be a child, where every child’s right to mental health is realised. Not only does the Government have an obligation to improve the lives of children in Ireland, it has the power to make this happen”.

If you put child mental health into google search, you will be very surprised to see the vast amount of organisations operating in Ireland in this field. So that tells me that Mental Health is now an everyday issue, so there should no longer be stigma attached to child mental health or mental health in general. The quicker we accept it and understand the quicker we can help our children and this might prevent another death by suicide and devastation for another Irish family.

95% of Irish people believe that talking to a friend or family member is helpful for looking after mental health. Reports have also shown that many are socially isolated and don’t have many friends or get out and about very often. That’s why we must encourage people to not only look after their own mental health but also that of others. It is no wonder there is still such a stigma surrounding mental health problems when the “mental” word is not even part of the child health vocabulary of parents and service providers. It is as if mental health is irrelevant to small children and it shouldn’t be. Your mental health is so important.


As people who are regularly in touch with children of all ages we have an obligation to keep them in sport for as long as we can. Reports have proven that the positive, direct effects of engaging in regular physical activity are particularly apparent in the prevention of several chronic diseases, including: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis. A number of studies have shown that exercise may play a therapeutic role in addressing a number of psychological disorders and it has also shown that sport has a positive influence on depression.

“Be careful how you speak to your children, one day it will become their inner voice”

Physical self-worth and physical self-perception, including body image, has been linked to improved self-esteem. The evidence relating to health benefits of physical activity predominantly focuses on intra-personal factors such as physiological, cognitive and affective benefits, however, that does not exclude the social and inter-personal benefits of sport and physical activity which can also produce positive health effects in individuals and communities.

Let keep kids healthy, let’s keep our kids in Sport.

Worth a Listen

Jim McGuinness on the benefits of Sport   (Mental Health piece starts 28mins in)

Gever Tulley talks about ‘5 dangerous things for kids’ 

Ruby Wax on Mental Health


I always like to hear your opinions. Please comment below or email me If, you don’t have anything to add then please forward this on to a friend. Thanks for reading.

I’m also on twitter @Coachdiary

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