Stress is most often associated with the workplace and affecting adults, but reports are showing that children as young as five have been found to display symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The disorder is most often seen in war veterans who have been in battle, and can include symptoms such as recurring nightmares, being unable to concentrate, panic and anxiety attacks and flashbacks.
It has been found that nearly 100 children have been diagnosed with severe psychological problems across Scotland, often as a result of suffering abuse.
“Acute external events such as accidents and natural disasters, a range of violence-related traumas such as domestic or community violence or abuse can cause this condition,” said Professor Panos Vostanis, from the University of Leicester.
There are differences between child and adult mental health. Adult mental health is underfunded on the NHS, but child mental health is arguably even more underserviced.
Paula Lavis, of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition commented: “Experiencing extreme trauma or a very stressful event is likely to cause PTSD in children. This can be experiencing abuse, but it could also be things like being in a traffic accident or witnessing a traumatic event.
“Data concerning children’s mental health is quite poor generally so it is difficult to say whether it is increasing.”
This lack of data is concerning, and suggests that, for all we know, these cases of PTSD could just be the tip of the iceberg, and there could be a plethora of children mental health issues that are going undiagnosed and unrecorded. Mental health care needs to become more efficient and the standards of care needs to be raised, across the country, but we needs to make sure that it is improved for everyone, including children.