Quality health cover that meets your needs doesn’t need to be complicated or too expensive. We offer you great cover, easy claims, and above all we tell it like it is – Affinity Health

To find out more, give us a call today!

One of our qualified and friendly agents will be happy to assist you.

Call Center:

0861 11 00 33


086 607 9419

General Enquiries:


Find a Doctor/Dentist

or Dentist


Where can you go?


Near me

The Official National Department of Health COVID-19 Support Service: 060 012 3456 (WhatsApp)

Find a Doctor/Dentist

Near me


Where can you go?


Near me


Know the Symptoms of Childhood Mental Illness

This Child Protection Week, Affinity Health, a leading provider of affordable health cover, highlights a silent need in 20% of kids worldwide.

Mental illness in children might be challenging for parents to recognise. As such, many kids with mental conditions must live without treatment.

Learn how to spot the warning signs of mental illness in kids. Here is how you can help your child.

What Exactly is Mental Illness?

The term, mental health, encapsulates the following human processes:

  • How well you process thoughts.
  • Your capacity to remember info.
  • The way you regulate feelings.
  • Your relations with other people.


“Your children’s growth is a holistic and vital process. Kids need to develop healthy thoughts and emotional control,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health. “Any disruptions interfere with children’s capacity for healthy growth.”

Obstacles in the Treatment of Childhood Mental Health Disorders

Understanding mental health disorders in children can be complex. Normal childhood development is a changing process.


Furthermore, the symptoms of a disorder may vary depending on a child’s age. Children may be unable to explain how they feel or their reasons for certain behaviours. Other circumstances may also deter parents from getting treatment for a child.


Parents may worry about the stigma associated with mental illness and medication. Also, the cost or logistical obstacles of treatment can be difficult.

Common Childhood Disorders

Children’s mental health issues are also called developmental disorders.

Mental health practitioners provide the tools for kids to cope with the following:

Anxiety problems:

Worry disorders in children are persistent concerns or anxieties. Anxiety interferes with their ability to take part in normal daily activities.

Kids may struggle to play, learn, or socialise. Social anxiety, generalised anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders are all diagnoses.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological illness that manifests itself in early childhood. It tends to appear before the age of three. ASD has varying degrees of severity. But a child with this disorder has trouble talking and connecting with others.

Eating Disorders:

Eating disorders are an obsession with an ideal body type. Disordered thinking about weight and weight loss can spiral out of control.

  • Eating disorders include:
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge-eating disorder
  • Mental and social dysfunction
  • Life-threatening changes
Bipolar disorder:

Bipolar causes significant mood swings between sadness and extreme emotional highs.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD):

PTSD is a range of persistent emotional distress following a major event. Disruptive behaviours are caused by an assault, abuse, injury, or other traumatic events. It can manifest itself in any of the following ways:

  • Anxiety
  • Painful memories
  • Nightmares

Schizophrenia is a perceptual and cognitive illness. It causes a person to lose touch with reality (psychosis). Schizophrenia is most common in the late teens and early twenties. It includes hallucinations, delusions, abnormal thinking and behaviour.

Learn More: Improving the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents

What are the Symptoms of Mental Illness in Children?

The following are warning signs of a mental health disorder:

  • Sadness that lasts for two weeks or longer
  • Avoiding or withdrawing from social contacts
  • Causing harm to oneself or discussing the possibility of harming oneself
  • Discussing death or suicide
  • Excessive impatience or outbursts
  • Uncontrollable activity that has the potential to be destructive
  • Significant shifts in mood, conduct, or personality
  • Alterations in eating habits
  • Weight loss
  • Sleeping problems
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches
  • Concentration problems
  • Academic performance shifts
  • Avoiding or failing to attend school

What Should I Do if I Fear My Child Has a Mental Illness?

Visit your child’s health care professional when you worry about their mental health. Describe the behaviours that cause you to worry. Inquire with your child’s teacher, close friends, family, or other caretakers. Find out whether they’ve seen any changes in your child’s behaviour. Inform your child’s health care provider of this information.


How Can Medical Experts Identify Mental Illness in Children?

Children’s mental health disorders are identified and treated based on signs and symptoms. Doctors check how the condition impacts the child’s daily life.

Your child’s health care practitioner may recommend further specialist assessment. Mental health specialists include:

  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Clinical social worker
  • Psychiatric nurses
  • General mental health care practitioners

How Can I Help My Child Cope with Mental Illness?

Here are a few things that may assist parents in caring for a child with a mental illness:
  • Find out more about your children’s illness.
  • Consider family counselling. All family members are partners in the treatment strategy.
  • Inquire with your children’s mental health experts. They might share how to respond to your child and deal with problematic behaviour.
  • Enrol in parent education programmes for parents raising children with mental illnesses.
  • Investigate stress management techniques to assist you in remaining calm.
  • Look for ways to unwind and have fun with your child.
  • Recognise and appreciate the abilities and strengths of your child.
Learn More: Affinity Talks About Childrens' Mental Health Awareness

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is the leading provider of affordable medical insurance in South Africa. Members enjoy access to a network of healthcare providers. We have designed healthcare products to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you would like to leave a comment


Get A Free Quote