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World Mental Health Day - 10th Oct 2018 

Mental wellness plays a role in order to be healthy as a whole. The goal of ‘World Mental Health Day’ is to increase awareness about mental health and its importance in the overall health of a person. The theme this year is "Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.” 

Youngsters today are vulnerable to eating disorders, mental distress and anguish, peer pressure and stress….more so than ever before. Our teenagers need to be sensitively handled. If their mental health issues are not recognized, diagnosed and managed expertly, it can lead to mental illness. The stigma attached to mental health prevents most people from speaking about their fears, apprehensions and mental traumas.

Research shows that nearly half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14…an age when youngsters have to tackle changes in their hormones, make new friends, excel in studies etc. All this leads to increasing stress levels. Alarmingly, suicide is now the second leading cause of death among those in the age group of 15 and 25.

We take our children for vaccinations, dental check-ups, eye check-ups…but mental health check-ups? Never! Preventing mental illness begins with awareness of early signs and symptoms. Good mental health and coping ability are of prime importance.

As parents, how can we help our young children build their mental resilience in order to dodge all the curve balls life throws at them? The answer to that is nutrition. The solution to most health issues can be found on our meal plate rather than on the shelf of the neighborhood chemist.

There is a strong connection between what we eat, how our body functions and how we feel.

The Gastro-Intestinal Tract (GIT) or gut is your secondary brain. It makes neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol, which are then carried to your brain. So if you are eating a healthy, unprocessed, balanced diet, more serotonin and dopamine are produced…. Else the stress hormone cortisol will be produced in amounts larger than the body can handle. This impacts:-
  • Sleep
  • Emotional Stability
  • Appetite
  • Thoughts
  • Pain Threshold

In order to ensure the mental well-being of youngsters ( w.r.t eating disorders, depression, mood swings, stress, and anxiety), their diet should include the following:-
  • Good Quality Proteins which provide Essential Amino Acids needed for physical & emotional health.
  • B Complex vitamins
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Selenium

Let us also ensure that our family environment is one where the child feels loved, valued, trusted and safe. Let us nurture a positive self-image…set an example by showing them how resilient we are. Most importantly, let us learn to accept who our children are, what are their limitations and what they are good at.
May we all be blessed with good mental and physical health…always !!!

Stay blessed with good health…always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza.

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