SSM Health: Self confidence begins as a baby, and is important to physical and mental health

MADISON, Wis. —  Over the next few weeks, the Recipe for Health team is focusing on the importance of embracing self identity. They’re encouraging all to be proud of who you are, your talents, interests, and to simply #BeYou.

Self-esteem and being confident in ourselves are things we all know are incredibly important, but what kind of impact does it have on your child’s health? SSM Health family physician Roopa Shah says that self-esteem begins as early as babyhood, and keeping that self-esteem positive can be a benefit to mental health, too.

“When kids have this, they’re more likely to try new things, set more ambitious goals for themselves,” says Shah, “and then confident teens tend to stand more by their morals and their beliefs. So they’re going to make better choices when faced with situations where they’re faced with peer pressure or other things like that.”

Dr. Shah goes on to say that higher confidence and self-esteem can also develop stronger resilience when dealing with life’s failures. On the contrary, a lower self-esteem may not only lead to anxiety or depression, but can lead to potential physical health risks as kids who lack confidence are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse.

Our time for kids: recipe for health team is asking what you want to hear about. Let us know what health topics you’re interested in, or share your family’s health story with us, online at