What is mental health and why is it important for children?

Written by Pragya Lodha
Published: September 12, 2021
The Mumbai Program Director & Clinical Psychologist at The MINDS Foundation. Honorary Associate Editor for the Indian Journal of Mental Health with over 100 National and International publications

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Mental health is very important and it is more than just the lack of mental disorders.

The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. Put simply, good mental health allows us to be resilient, productive, and balanced, with the ability to succeed in work, school, interpersonal relationships, and more. Mental health can also be referred to as emotional or psychological well-being.

Mental Health Is Just As Important As Physical Health!

Due to the stigma it carries, mental health issues are often considered “not as important” as physical health issues. For example, many people would feel more comfortable taking time off of work for a broken leg than for a bout of depression as it may feel easier to explain to colleagues and more “real”. This is a big issue we face in our communities, as both conditions are equally valid and deserve the same professional attention, care, and community support.

The World Health Organization states that physical and mental health are both important in overall health:

Mental Health + Physical Health = Overall Health

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Why Is Mental Health Important For Children?

The mental health of children is very important because whatever the child learns in the initial years of their growth (upto 6-8 years old), is what they develop on in the coming years. Good mental health allows children to develop the strength, skills, and ability to cope with all situations in life and become healthy adults. Mental health also has a large impact on physical health, and impacts their ability to succeed in school, work, and as a member of society.

Good Mental Health Is Important So That Children:
  • Can develop socially and cognitively
  • Can live positive experiences
  • Can explore their potential to the fullest
  • Can learn to form healthy relationships
  • Can learn to cope with difficult situations
  • Can succeed in school
  • Don’t succumb to illnesses and weaknesses
  • Have a generally optimistic approach to life 


Author: Pragya Lodha, MINDS Mumbai Program Director & Psychologist


Ankita Gupta, MINDS Research Associate
Anoushka Thakkar, MINDS Research Associate
Roshni Dadlani, MINDS Communications Lead

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