Being diagnosed with cancer is scary and difficult at any age, but it can be particularly emotionally damaging to a child. And now a recent study is showing that children who survive cancer, along with their siblings, have a greater risk of developing a mental illness. This study points to the obvious link between physical treatment and mental help through child psychiatry.
Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital studied 7,085 children who were treated for cancer between 1975-2010 and their 13,000 siblings. The younger the children and siblings were at the time of diagnosis, the greater the risk of developing a mental illness seemed to be. Children diagnosed with cancer before the age of 10 showed the highest risk, while siblings who were over 15 years old when their brother or sister got cancer seemed to have lower risks.
These results indicate that children in early development stages are especially sensitive to problems in the family. Siblings react to their parents’ worries about the sick child and take on the family’s stress. Any child with a serious illness, as well as their siblings, will benefit from child psychiatry. Contact a mental health therapist who specializes in child psychiatry if you have any concerns about the mental well being of your children.