1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have or will have a serious mental illness.
At first glance, many would think this is a scary statistic, but fortunately, there are various actions that can be taken to ensure your child’s mental wellbeing. The first step towards taking the right actions is to be knowledgeable and aware: mental health conditions are common in our youth, and being well-informed can save your child from permanent or temporary harm.
Children undergo many different changes in their lives; they are learning about themselves, their surroundings, and other people as they grow. Parents should remain close and connected to their kids at this time to be aware of any signs that may signal a harming condition. There are many warning signs that a child may portray that may alert you as a parent of an upcoming or ongoing mental health condition. Below are some of the signs that may indicate a mental disorder:
1. Feeling Sad
If your child is feeling very sad for more than two weeks at a time, this may be a sign of an underlying condition. Some of the symptoms are crying regularly and feeling exhausted and unmotivated. This symptom normally occurs simultaneously with other symptoms.
Committing any actions of self-harm or even having thoughts of committing self-harm could mean that something is seriously happening and you should seek immediate help for your child before permanent harm or even suicide occurs.
3. Weight Fluctuations
Not eating, vomiting, or using laxatives for weight loss are also indications of a mental disorder. Significant differences in weight, whether it be weight gain or weight loss, could mean an eating disorder is present.
4. Drugs & Alcohol
If a child shows any signs of drug or alcohol abuse, seek help immediately. This should be put to a stop immediately before abuse becomes addiction or causes permanent damage to the health of your child.
5. Difficulty Concentrating
Difficulty concentrating in everyday activities or staying still could mean there is a type of attention deficit disorder present. Fortunately in today’s world, there are many different types of aid available for this type of mental condition.
6. Withdrawal from Socialization
Withdrawal from regular activities with friends because of intense fear or worries is not normal in a child’s behavior. Children should feel comfortable socializing with others without any negative emotions present.
7. Sleep Disturbance
Sleeping problems, whether it be too much sleep or not enough sleep, paired with other symptoms could be an indicator of an underlying problem.
8. Mood Changes
Extreme changes in mood, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria are also indicators. These mood changes could be radically positive or negative.
Now that you are aware of the most common warning signs of mental health illness, here are some things you could do to take action if you notice your child may be at risk:
- Encourage your child to talk to you about their feelings
- Talk with your pediatrician
- Get a referral to a mental health specialist
- Work with the school
- Connect with other families
There are various types of assessments and exams available that will diagnose your child correctly. Remember that there is always aid available. There is nothing wrong with seeking help from someone that may be able to guide you in the right direction, even if you are unsure that there is actually an underlying problem. There are experts available to you that have many years of research and experience that will assist you in the right way.
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