Psychological wellbeing of orphans

Childhood is an important period for a child’s overall development. The researchers for mental health care always focus on children for their studies. All of these studies have highlighted emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, and difficulties in making social interactions. Children also have a serious issue of behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and attitude problems in them.

The development of a child’s brain and overall personality are disrupted if the family environment is compromised due to illness or death of the parents or guardians. The loss of parents or guardians might also cause withdrawal, anxiety, and depression in the teenagers. Losing a parent and the trauma that follows are difficult for children, and the effects may not manifest until many years afterwards.

Depression is a profound misery with long term and hurtful consequences for the wellbeing of any individual. At the point when guardians pass away, children not only miss their actual presence, but in addition miss the numerous positive things they gave them when they were alive, like love and care. In many cases, orphans have nobody to share their misery with, and this can make them feel even more helpless and lonely. Orphans don’t have the right support during the process of grievance which can definitely take a serious toll on their mental wellbeing. When the parents or guardians die, a child has nobody to turn to give them emotional support. Adjusting to live in an orphanage is one of the biggest challenges they had to face. They don’t have enough help to start a life in a new environment without their parents, this may lead children to become depressed.

Orphans are the special group of children who are generally underprivileged and they don’t get to have positive and healthy family environment around them. They have the tendency to develop psychiatric disorders even the ones who get to live in well run-institutions. Stressful experiences damage the process of their growth and leave an everlasting negative effect on their personalities. Not being able to communicate easily with others causes poor self-image, low confidence, and increase level of daily stress.

In Pakistan, there is limited evidence which explores relationships between anxiety, depression, stress, and decision-making among the orphanages’ teenagers. The teenagers living in foster homes of Pakistan had less mental health problems, than those living in orphanage homes. According to a study teenagers who were living in orphan houses had demonstrated less positive attitude, and they lack self-confidence. High rate of attitude problems were found among teenagers living in orphanages of Karachi, Pakistan.

When an orphan is forced to live in an orphanage, he suffers from many problems such as emotional bonding, financial problems and poor health. Along with all these problems the biggest problem orphans suffer, is social stigma. They are discriminated against other children, this discrimination has a particular impact on their psychology. This problem leads to many psychological issues. Orphans residing in orphan homes are more vulnerable to develop depression, anxiety and behavioral problems as compared to other children.

Orphan homes provide these children with the basic necessities of life but never provide the care, love and sense of self awareness that only your own parents can give. Findings of many studies showed that family life plays a vital role in a child’s healthy development. Losing parents in a young age is a trauma that completely tarnishes the mental health of a child. A study showed that orphanage children who don’t get to live a privileged life and face lack of sympathy and emotions, and are more likely to become rebellious, and are more aggressive than non-institutionalized children. Children in orphanage who are being ignored and are victims of physical abuse, they have many problems growing inside them such as anxiety, depression and as a result of it they become aggressive and impulsive. Maternal death negatively impacts the psychological and social wellbeing of the children even after they cross the most complicated time of their growth which is adolescence. Longing for their mothers have a negative effect on their ability to develop coping mechanism, which leads to isolation, sadness, hopelessness, lack of peace, and fear of an uncertain future.

Most developing countries confront many challenges as they struggle to deal with economic, social and political problems. One of the most difficult challenge is to assure the wellbeing of their children. Health planners are facing a wide range of needs to fulfill for example, clean water, sanitation and nutrition etc. Mental health care comes low on their priority list. In countries like Pakistan, it’s high time that we take the field of child mental health care under serious consideration. We need to act more serious towards the psychological health of our children. Globally, one in every five children and teenager suffers from a psychological disorder, and two out of five who need mental health services do not receive them. It was expected that by 2020, childhood neuropsychiatry disorder will rise to over 50% and will become one of the five most common reasons of mortality and disability among children. Despite these alarming numbers, mental health issues are often unidentified or diagnosed too late.

The orphans residing in orphanages face many problems and one of them is financial crisis. They don’t have nobody to support them financially. When they develop these mental disorders, they don’t have the resources to get the right treatments. The first ever bill that made the welfare and rehabilitation of the unattended orphan children, the responsibility of the state, was passed by the Upper House of the Parliament in 2016. The bill was titled ‘Un-attended Orphans (Rehabilitation and Welfare (Act), 2016’. The purpose of this bill was to secure the rights of unattended orphans and abandoned children. This bill ensured that these less fortunate children will be provided with the basic facilities including housing, education and health care by the state.

Keeping it in mind that in today’s world, even adults are having a tough time battling with the mental health issues, so we should take the mental health of children and particularly orphans into serious consideration. They feel lost and unaccepted in the society which leads a vacuum in their personality development. As a responsible citizen, if you happen to know any of such less fortunate children, give them your valuable time to make them feel normal. Listen what they want to convey, lend them an ear. And the government must not take these children and their mental wellbeing for granted, as these underprivileged children are still going to play a part in the economic development of the country.


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