According to the National Alliance On Mental Illness, 1 in 5 children in the U.S will experience some sort of mental health disorders. Mental health experts have identified some of the warning signs that every parent should not overlook. If your child is showing any of these signs, it may be time to seek professional help.
1. Intense feelings and emotions
While heightened emotions are normal for children, extreme and unstable emotions can signal that a child has difficulty regulating emotion. Children who frequently cycle through rapid emotional spikes or exhibit emotional responses vastly out of proportion with the situation at hand could be struggling with a mental health disorder.
2. Difficulty concentrating
Children working through undiagnosed mental health disorders will often have difficulty concentrating in school or at play, resulting in lower grades or lack of interest in everyday activities.
Children with mental health disorders will often isolate themselves from friends or family. This may manifest as a shyness or anxiety that drives children away from social environments, or a simple lack of interest in talking to or playing with friends.
4. Feeling ill most of the time
Often, you can’t rely on your child to tell you what they are struggling with emotionally. They may not have the words to explain what they are going through, or they may not be able to fully understand their feelings. Instead, many children with undiagnosed disorders will complain frequently of physical pain or discomfort, such as a headache or a queasy stomach.
5. Change of sleeping habits and appetite
While all children go through changes in sleeping habits and appetite, especially during crucial stages of development such as puberty, a sudden loss or gain in appetite, or a similarly unprecedented change in sleeping habits, may be a sign of a mental health disorder.
6. Substance abuse and self-harm
If your child is showing signs of self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse or cutting themselves, has a big change in their group of friends or is seeking out dangerous situations, seek help immediately. Often, these behaviors manifest as a child or teen’s attempt to cope with undiagnosed mental health disorders, and if not treated this behavior can have permanent repercussions and/or lead to suicide attempts.
For more information on mental illness, visit this site. Another excellent resource for parents and caregivers of young people who may be exhibiting behavioral signs symptomatic of mental health challenges can be found here.
If your child is showing one or more of these signs, it is time to seek help. Reach out to Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families for a free and confidential initial consultation to see how we can help your child on the path to recovery: