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Dhaka Tribune

Parents, teachers play crucial role in mental health of adolescents

  • 3.6% of 10 to 14-year-olds suffer from anxiety
  • 2.8% of 15 to 19-year-olds suffer from depression
Update : 14 Nov 2023, 11:37 AM

One of the most crucial aspects of every human life is adolescence, between the ages of 10 and 19, speakers said at a roundtable on Monday.

To nurture a healthy mind, the relationship between parents and their children plays an important role, they said. 

The roundtable titled “Adolescent Mental Health: Challenges and Possible Solutions to Ensure Mental Wellbeing of Adolescents", was organized by The Development Research Network (Dnet) with the support of Unicef.

Parents need new skills and strategies to meet the multifaceted needs of children, discussants said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3.6% of 10 to 14-year-olds and 4.6% of 15 to 19-year-olds worldwide suffer from anxiety.

In addition, a total of 1.1% of adolescents aged 10 to 14-year-olds and 2.8% of 15 to 19-year-olds suffer from depression.

As per WHO’s Global Health Estimates (2000-2019), suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among adolescents aged 15-19.

In the discussion on the mental health of teenagers, the role of parents and teachers in this issue is very important.

Monira Rahman, country lead of Mental Health First Aid Bangladesh, said: “To know about the health of a child, one must be aware of the health of the mother. Awareness should be raised about postpartum depression.”

Adolescents spend a large part of their day at school. The mental health of teachers and their behaviour also impacts the mental health of students.

Marin Sultana, deputy coordinator of Brac Institute of Educational Development's Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Program, said: “What I notice while working is that teenagers these days prefer to talk to their friends rather than their parents or teachers. They express their feelings better with friends. A form of distance prevents teenagers from talking openly with parents or teachers."

Jannatul Ferdous, health specialist, Maternal and Adolescent Health of Unicef Bangladesh, believes that teenagers prefer to stay by themselves. In some cases, it is seen that parents do not give proper time to their children and gradually a distance is created between the two parties.

Marin Sultana, education officer of Brac, said: “We currently have three programs concerning teenagers. We have worked with teachers and conducted workshops to make them aware of the type of relationship they need to have with teenagers.”

“At this time, I found many gaps among teachers. We informed the teachers about not having qualities like compassion.”

In this regard, Shamsul Hoque, program manager (adolescent and school health program) of Directorate General of Health Services, said, “We have to work together with the public and private sectors on the mental health of adolescents. And both parents need to be equally aware of the mental health of teenagers.”

The senior official of DGHS said that private institutions working on mental health will be coordinated along with government institutions.

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