Unlike most adult patients, students who suffer from emotional disorders are often influenced by external factors.
From the way they are raised in the family and the campus environment they are in, to how they interact with peers, their experiences with others play a key role in their understanding of people and the world.
Bad parenting, constant negligence or even violent abuse can turn them into insecure and pessimistic individuals.
Excessive drills and strict pedagogies that students experience in the classroom can lead to frustration and helplessness. Interactions with peers are equally influential. Supportive classmates form positive bondages which help them fight off pressure while those who seek to isolate and bully them can have a traumatic impact.
Environmental influences can affect students’ beliefs and cognitive development. Unhappy memories can cause emotional problems when they face setbacks later on in life.
In view of the role played by environmental factors, doctors and psychotherapists who handle students’ emotional issues would not make a diagnosis or medical prescriptions without grasping the patients’ family background.
Early childhood traumas, unhealthy learning environment and manipulative peers are closely related to most mental health problems. The history of patients allows doctors to trace the causes of their disorders and design appropriate therapies.
Parenting approaches that emphasize positive reinforcement and self-reflection can help students who exhibit mental disorders to rebuild positive family relationships.
Fellowship between peers and harmony with teachers would create a sense of support and care that encourages students to seek help when they face learning difficulties.
In addition to time and other resources that contribute to the recovery of a child or adolescent from mental disorders, what is fundamental and cannot be missed is the care and loving attitude of the community.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan 24
Translation by John Chui
[Chinese version 中文版]
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