Mental illnesses in parents represent a risk for children in the family. These children have a higher risk for developing mental illnesses than other children. When both parents are mentally ill, the chance is even greater that the child might become mentally ill.
The risk is particularly strong when a parent has one or more of the following: Bipolar Disorder, an anxiety disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia, alcoholism or other drug abuse, or depression. Risk can be inherited from parents, through the genes.
An inconsistent, unpredictable family environment also contributes to psychiatric illness in children. Mental illness of a parent can put stress on the marriage and affect the parenting abilities of the couple, which in turn can harm the child.
Some protective factors that can decrease the risk to children include:
Knowledge that their parent(s) is ill and that they are not to blame
Help and support from family members
A stable home environment
Psychotherapy for the child and the parent(s)
A sense of being loved by the ill parent
A naturally stable personality in the child
Positive self esteem
Inner strength and good coping skills in the child
A strong relationship with a healthy adult
Friendships, positive peer relationships
Interest in and success at school
Healthy interests outside the home for the child
Help from outside the family to improve the family environment (for example, marital psychotherapy or parenting classes)
Medical, mental health or social service professionals working with mentally ill adults need to inquire about the children and adolescents, especially about their mental health and emotional development. If there are serious concerns or questions about a child, it may be helpful to have an evaluation by a qualified mental health professional. Continue reading “Mental Illness in Families”→
We now know that the prefrontal cortex is one of the last brain regions to develop, and its connections with other cortical and subcortical targets are very slow to form. These processes are especially slow in the human, and evidence of continued development has been documented through adolescence and adulthood. This slow-paced and sustained development renders the prefrontal cortex and its connections vulnerable to environmental insults (e.g., early psychosocial adversity), but at the same time offers great potential for extensive learning from positive, enriching environments, and the optimization of neural processes that will facilitate regulated behavior. Its end-product is an incredibly rich emotional regulation repertoire in the mature adult. Continue reading “Emotion Regulation Without a Mature Prefrontal Cortex”→
What scientists found was that mindfulness had a very positive effect particularly on three areas of the brain linked with our emotional centre (Baime, 2011; Ireland, 2014).
These three areas are the:
cortex: regulates thinking and reason (Graham, 2008) and is the part of our brain most recent to evolve – our ‘organ’ of consciousness and what makes us homo sapiens (McGill, n.d.)
hippocampus: integrates perceptions and emotions into memory, especially long-term memory (Siegel, 2015; Graham, 2008)
amygdale (there are two): respond to perceptions of fear and activate the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism (Graham, 2008) so whatever event stimulates the amygdale will surely cause a knee-jerk reaction
Since the brain is highly complex and its complexities are way beyond my scope of knowledge, for the sake of understanding and simplification I’ll concentrate on these three areas as applied to trauma and human development.
Since HIP’s inception 10 years ago, HIP’s transformative lessons in Bias Reduction, Overcoming Bystander Effect and Growth Mindset have impacted to date 700 teachers and educators, 500 schools and 35,000 individuals across the world. Through its experiential training workshops, HIP serves approximately 10 high schools, 50 teachers and 3,000 individuals each year. HIP’s educational programs have impacted professors, college students, high school students, as well as, business leaders, company employees and staff from non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. In order to measure the success of our training, HIP works with our clients to conduct pre-assessment and post-assessment surveys and collect statistical and psychometric data that is used to assess and evaluate the short-term and long-term social impact of our programs. HIP has also inspired the creation of nearly 20 global HIP affiliated non-profit organizations in countries like Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Canada and Indonesia.
CBT can help you overcome those errors in reasoning that can lead to catastrophic thinking, which can lead to even more negative automatic thoughts.
Three-Step Process for Identifying Cognitive Distortions
Step 1 – Identifying Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviours
Step 2 – Understanding the Links Between Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviours
Being mentally healthy doesn’t mean never going through bad times or experiencing emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress. But just as physically healthy people are better able to bounce back from illness or injury, people with strong mental health are better able to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. This ability is called resilience.