I was disturbed to see the photograph of the young child who was seen suffering from anxiety whilst meeting the Duchess of Campaign.
When you see a child with lack of self-esteem, you need to ‘dig deeper’ and find out why and how he can be supported. There could be many reasons why the child experienced this condition, what was his home situation like, did he have pushy parents,what about his schooling, and how he gets on with teachers and fellow school kids. All sorts of things.
The Daily Mirror said he ‘was shy’ but there is a difference between being shy and having a social anxiety attack. And being ‘shy’ is ok, many people are shy. Why be humoured for being shy? Being photographed globally for being ‘shy’ as a ‘bad thing’ adds shame to people. Maybe the kid will deal with it ok when they get older, but many people are shy or have social anxiety for life. It is just a condition, and nothing to be ashamed of, despite our society being made for extroverts.
The close shot photo of the child, splashed over the pages, of the internet with his name would make things worse of a child with social anxiety, as humiliation is part of the condition. The media are often ignorant of mental health and often have no training in Mental Health First Aid.
As it is Mental Awareness Week the media and parents need to learn about social anxiety and how to manage it.
I suffered from social anxiety as a child so I see the photograph as ‘troubling’. If I was a parent or teacher, I would prefer to encourage self-esteem and confidence in a child. Sometimes they just need a bit of support. I would also get a child psychologist in.
If you have a child with similar symptoms to the little boy, please read the link on NHS link http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-anxiety/Pages/Social-anxiety.aspx#children