Understanding Mental Health Challenges Among Today’s Youth

By Jeffrey Go, Grade 8 Parent

Today’s environment presents an on-going challenge and influence to the mental health of adults and children alike. As part of its thrust, the XSPA recently held its 6th parents’ forum entitled Understanding Mental Health Challenges Among Today’s Youth at the Angelo King Multipurpose Center last November 25, 2015 (Wednesday).

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We were graced by the presence of Dr. Arsenio “Boboy” Alianan, Jr., a Xavier alumnus and parent, who completed his doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the Ateneo de Manila University, and is a practicing physician at PsychConsult, Inc, a private mental health service facility.

In his talk, Dr. Alianan shared the different factors that can impact a child’s mental state. Key highlights of his sharing include:

  • Mental health is an integral part of one’s overall health. It is therefore equally critical to allot time and effort in understanding the various factors that may affect one’s mental state over and beyond one’s physical health.
  • Exposure to external factors (e.g. social media) has a huge influence on our mindset and overall outlook in life. Our children’s early experiences and interaction to these external realities, whether positive or not, may have an impact on their view about life and their relative role in it.
  • Parents play an important role in shaping and influencing the environment our children live in. While not fully controllable, Dr. Alianan shared tips on how to detect potential problems and at the same time, shared valuable insights on how we can positively influence our children’s view on life through our parenting style, approach and demeanor when interacting with our children.

In the end, Dr. Alianan likewise emphasized that as parents and caregivers to our children, we, as adults, also need to reflect and understand our very own mental state so we can provide our children with an environment that is filled with love, understanding and trust that is critical in building a positive and productive outlook for our children, for our families and for the people we interact with in the community.

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