Mental Health: Its Impact on Development, Childhood, Adolescence & Adulthood - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1484 Words
Date:  2023-01-21


Mental health encompasses a wide range of conditions that affect the mental part of the human body. It entails the emotional, psychological and social well-being of an individual. Mental health is of significant help to many people at every stage of their development right from development, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Some of the mental health problems include fetal alcohol syndrome and Down syndrome which affects the mental capabilities of a person. Some of the mental health problems can be temporal or permanent and the former can be reduced through counseling, providing mental health care, and education programs among others.

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Down Syndrome

According to Selekman (2013), Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome. The extra chromosome is identified as the most prevalent cause of ID, however, the incidence has been found to be decreasing. The prevalence has gone down because the prenatal diagnosis has been on the rise hence the identified affected pregnancies are terminated. The decrease is hence not as a result of improved care but termination of the pregnancy. Selekman (2013) posits that in the United States, the incidence of Down syndrome is 1 per 733 births. The incidence of the syndrome is said to increase with an increase in an age such that those at old age are more likely to give birth to babies with the syndrome. Such that at the age of 25, the prevalence is 1 in 1250 while at the age of 30, the prevalence is 1 in 1000 births (Selekman, 2013). Conversely, the prevalence of Down syndrome is 1 in 400 at the age of 35, and at the age of 40 the prevalence is 1 n 100 and finally, at the age of 45, the prevalence is 1 in 30 live births (Selekman, 2013). This implies that 80% of individuals born with DS belong to mothers below the age of 35 years. In the United States, each year, 4000 to 5400 children are born with Down syndrome. The majority of the syndrome cases amounting to 94% arise from nondisjunction where during the process of meiosis, chromosome pairs do not take place giving rise to either 3 or 47 chromosomes at the 21st pair (Selekman, 2013). Translocation causes about 4% of the condition, while about 1% to 2% of the syndrome is caused by mosaicism. In the former, additional 21st chromosome is fond of one more chromosome while in the latter, most of the cells consist of 46 and others 47 chromosomes (Selekman, 2013).

The Down syndrome is associated with various conditions such as growth retardation, leukemia, epicanthal folds, and heart disease. The disorder is characterized by ID, IQ scores which range from 40 to 60 and appear to be mild to moderate although they decrease as one approach adolescence. An individual with the syndrome has a microcephalic brain as well as a reduced cerebellum and frontal lobe volume. Another condition experienced by an individual with Down syndrome is poor verbal short term memory skills. A number of disabilities are also associated with the disorder and these include mild immunological deficiency, celiac disease, obstructive sleep apnea, ophthalmic problems, autism, acquired hip dislocation, and thyroid disease. Other health conditions include obesity, otitis media, neurologic dysfunction, gastrointestinal atresias and malformations, cataract hearing problems, Hirschsprung disease, type 2 diabetes, malocclusion, seizures, and deterioration of the cognitive function, orthopedic problems and skin conditions.

A school nurse would need to know the information on the student and such information include the hearing and vision capabilities, be familiar with physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. Besides, the school nurse should also be aware of the student's atlantoaxial subluxation status and some knowledge on dental care such as antibiotic prophylaxis.

The school staff should be aware of the behaviors exhibited by the student living with Down syndrome. Besides, students need to be accommodated for their slow cognitive abilities and language skills. Although the student may only require occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy, medications such as immunization against hepatitis, and pneumococcus are essential due to deficiencies in their immune systems.

A student with Down syndrome will require three types of special therapy namely occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy. In addition, the student is taught sign language to help in understanding certain concepts that aid in communication. Such signs are significant in facilitating vital activities and notification about going to the toilet, asking for food when hungry, and when in pain among others.

One of the legal considerations for school health is that students with the disorder should not be denied access to education or be subjected to discrimination and mistreatment. The family can work with CISD and NBISD which collaborate with the communities to secure funding and resources that aid in service delivery to the affected children. Through their staffs, the support groups assess and offer special services at homes making it possible for children to receive services outside schools.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a severe mental illness arising from heavy drinking of alcohol during pregnancy. It is not established how alcohol causes the disorder or how much alcohol is necessary to cause the syndrome. It is, however, established that alcohol exposure during the prenatal stage affects the structure and functioning of the brain. In this regard, heavy drinking of alcohol is a high-risk during pregnancy since it exposes the mother to vitamin and the nutritional deficiency (Selekman, 2013). The syndrome causes irreversible birth defects and is characterized by learning disabilities, neurological and motor deficits, behavioral social deficits, craniofacial malformations, and intrauterine growth retardation.

Fetal alcohol syndrome causes approximately 0.5 to 2.0 cases for every 1000 births in the US. In countries where there is heavy drinking of alcohol the syndrome cases more than 60 cases for every 1000 births. According to the National Institute of Mental Health as cited by Warner (2018), close to 1 in every 2 children possess a mental disorder by 1 year of age. In other regions of the world, fetal alcohol syndrome is highly prevalent.

Individuals with fetal alcohol syndrome exhibit various characteristics such as low levels of the intelligent quotient, disabilities in learning, exhibit hyperactive behavior, problems in their daily life, poor coordination and developmental disabilities. Other characteristics exhibited by individuals living with fetal alcohol syndrome include disturbances during sucking and sleep at a tender age, improper reasoning, and judgment skills, abnormalities on the face such as minute eye openings, and finally small for gestational age.

The school health professional would require to be taught how to deal with the children living with the syndrome. Care and how to live with children with mental health problems is very essential for the staff within the school (Chudley et al., 2005). They must understand how to treat them since treating them in an awkward way would create several problems that would elevate the condition of the child. One of the critical things that they should be taught is to accept them as they are and then be ready to offer any assistance that they need. A posited by Warner (2018), the district -community relationships for mental health services assist more than 33,000 students. Importantly, the school health professional needs to know and understand the various useful interventions for use in a school setting. Some of the interventions include using a multidisciplinary approach and giving encouragement on verbalization needs and how they can seek help (Selekman, 2013). School health professional also needs to know how to keep the instructions they give to the student simple, clear and short. Giving frequent cues and extended time is also an important intervention that the school health professional should know to assist the student fully. The staff must also perform an evaluation on vision and hearing, as well as assist the student n maintaining control of a task (Selekman, 2013).

A school nurse would suitably collaborate with a psychological counselor to help the student. The school counselor goes to the classroom and observe the student and determine how best the frustrations and difficulties experienced by fetal alcohol disorder patient can be addressed (Chudley et al., 2005). After making the observation, the counselor advises the school nurse and staff on the management, techniques, and suggestions that would best aid in education delivery to the individuals.


The experience and the environment within which an individual is exposed to, affects the mental health either negatively or positively. Negative environments create mental health problems while positive environmental and experiences create positive mental health. Factors like life experiences, drinking, family history, and biological factors contribute highly to mental health problems. Fetal alcohol syndrome and Down syndrome are some of the disorders caused by experiences and environment.


Chudley, A.E., Conry, J.L., Cook, J.L., Loock, C.A., Rosales, T.J., & Leblanc, N.J. (2005). Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Canadian guidelines for diagnosis. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne, 172 5 Suppl, S1-S21.

NIH. (2018). NIH Fact Sheets - Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Retrieved from

Selekman, J. (2013). School nursing: A comprehensive text (2nd). Newark, DE: F.A. Davis Company

Warner, J. (2018). Mental health services are a priority for local districts | Community Impact Newspaper. Retrieved from

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Mental Health: Its Impact on Development, Childhood, Adolescence & Adulthood - Essay Sample. (2023, Jan 21). Retrieved from

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