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Child Hunger and Mental Health

Written By Jisu Oh and Yuna Kim

Edited By Marijn Raemaekers

Infographic source: Rise Against Hunger

There is no question that hunger has negative impacts on a child’s mental health, as it places them in a constant state of stress in which they wonder from where, or when, their next meal will come.

In fact, 56.25% of students are at risk of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the distress that comes with thinking if they have a meal to consume. Food insecurity problems among children could make them feel shameful, annoyed, and out of place, which are all contributing factors to mental health issues.

Moreover, suffering from hunger in childhood has many long-term effects. These can include things such as developing symptoms of depression and other health concerns. Thus, such possible development of mental health issues can be prevented when child hunger is resolved.

So, what are some of the solutions to solving child hunger and the negative implications on mental health that it perpetuates?

First of all, to prevent children from suffering from hunger in their later life, providing them with a proper education is one of the most effective ways of ensuring that they don’t face hunger as adults.By providing kids with the knowledge and skills to procure jobs, education prepares them to be self-sufficient in the real world.

If we look at this in the same context but from another angle, we also see that it is important to feed chillldren while they are in school. Not only does this encourage them to acquire an education, but it also increases their focus and improves their performance while they’re in the classroom.

Second, one of the most obvious solutions against the implications of child hunger is putting food directly in the hands of those who are hungry. Feeding programs and efficient food aid donations have proven to be an extremely effective way of doing so. Getting food to the hungry until they are able to produce it themselves is not a matter of implementing new feeding programs and donating food – it’s about making the programs that already exist more effective.

Lastly, when looking at the issue of child hunger one must not forget the importance of taking care of babies. Babies are particularly vulnerable to disease and infection, and hunger and malnutrition only exaggerate that weakness. By giving babies a healthy, well-nourished start to life, we give them a greater chance at maintaining this physical and emotional health and making it to adulthood.

Want to learn more about our MHAC’s March topic of Hunger? Visit our instagram page to learn more in depth about various aspects of this withstanding issue.

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