A recent news report featured a school in New Delhi that is now implementing a new program that seeks to identify who among its students are also at risk of contracting comorbid mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. According to the news report, this new approach has been incorporated into the school’s behavior modification program. The program is said to be one of the most rigorous in the country and involves regular monitoring and periodic re-examinations of school children. The primary reason behind this approach is that researchers claim that more than half of all mental disorders come from exposure to harsh social environments.
What exactly does exposure to excessive stress do to a child? According to leading medical professionals, exposing a child to a harsh social environment for extended periods of time can cause the child to develop psychological problems including anxiety, depression, and eventually become sick or disabled. Also, experts claim that a child who is repeatedly exposed to social stressors can also develop unhealthy habits such as smoking, overeating, skipping meals, and using drugs and alcohol. There is also mounting evidence that suggests that exposure to such social stressors may also lead to the development of diseases such as asthma, hay fever, and other allergies. All these factors coupled with low levels of physical activity during the early developmental stages of children can set the stage for serious health problems in adulthood. The question then is, how can we identify those children who are at higher risk of developing such conditions?
Tracking the behavior of students is one good way of identifying who among our preschoolers are also susceptible to developing psychological disorders. Parents can make use of the behavioral questionnaires that teachers use to assess how their children behave in class. Questionnaires like the EQ-i and CPI-i can identify possible psychological disorders in a child. Aside from the IQ tests, teachers also carry out behavioral questionnaires such as the MMP-2 and CPI-3. These questionnaires, together with standardized questionnaires and interviews, enable teachers to monitor how well their children cope with social situations.
Children’s exposure to co-vectors can also be tracked through home surveillance. Home surveillance is defined as the observation of a child at home during school hours or at any other time when the child is supposed to be absent. Parents can use the MMP-2 and CPI-3 to analyze who among their preschoolers are being subjected to psychological stresses at home.
Social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists can also be contacted to conduct group interviews with families of co-vectors. Interviews done by social workers are more specific in nature as compared to the interviews done by psychologists and psychiatrists. In the latter types of interview, therapists ask questions about the child’s adjustment, self-image, and adjustment issues. They also delve into the family’s history to trace where the problems started. Based on the information gathered, parents can decide whether or not their child is being exposed to co-vectors.
MMPs are not perfect; they only provide a rough estimate. However, they can give you a glimpse into what goes on in a typical child’s life. This information is priceless because it will allow you to make the right decision on how to raise your child.