Mental health issues, especially in children, are more common than you think. One in five children will experience some form of mental illness before 18.
But two-thirds of those who need help do not get access to it. Finding a therapist for your child when you feel there is a problem to avoid severe financial and long-term effects on their lives is essential.
There are steps that you can take to help your child if they’re struggling with their mental health:
If Your Child Is Having Thoughts of Harming Themselves or Others
America is increasingly getting concerned about its children’s mental health, with incidents of aggression and mass killings growing in the country. These occurrences result from untreated childhood mental health issues that grow and shape into the unfortunate incident.
The recent shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 18-year-old Salvador Rolando Ramos killed 19 students and two teachers, is one such incident of mental health neglect.
Salvador had shown many symptoms of aggression and mental illness in his growing years that were left untreated. The tragedy would not have occurred if someone had just stepped up and helped him receive the support he needed at the right time.
The good thing is that the internet has made it easier to find a therapist in Texas or any other location. You can find a list of therapists in your area, visit their websites, and take a look at the different techniques they use. You can even check out their reviews and testimonials to determine whether they’re worth your time and money.
If your child is having thoughts of harming themselves or others, ask them about it and seek professional help. If you have noticed a change in their behavior that concerns you, talk to them about it and open up a dialogue about these changes.
It’s important to remember that everyone has bad days, but if severe signs of depression or other mental health problems present in your child, take action immediately.
If Your Child Is Focusing Too Much on Grades
While good grades indicate a child’s mental health, it’s essential to realize that they are not the only indicator. For example:
- If you’ve noticed your child getting increasingly angry or agitated about their grades, this could mean that they’re putting too much pressure on themselves.
- If your child is constantly asking for help with homework, it could mean they don’t feel confident in their abilities and want someone else to do it for them (which is a sign of low self-esteem).
- If your child suddenly starts performing poorly at school, something may be happening in their life that’s making school difficult for them or them right now. The key thing here is not to jump to conclusions but rather to ask your kids what’s going on. They may tell you what’s causing them stress or how they’re feeling overall, and then you’ll know exactly when seeking counseling service is necessary.
If Your Child Seems to Have Lost Interest in All of Their Hobbies
Depression is a serious mental illness that can cause you to feel sad, hopeless, or helpless. It’s also common for people with depression to lose interest in things that used to bring them joy.
If you’re worried about your child’s mental health and think they might be depressed talk with them about what’s going on. Ask them open-ended questions about how they’re feeling and what’s going on in their life right now (i.e., “How do you feel when X happens?”).
You may need help from a friend or family member who knows your child well enough for this conversation because sometimes it can be difficult for kids who are depressed to see past their current struggles.
If Your Child Is Showing Signs of Being Anxious
You might be worried that your child’s anxiety or stress is a sign of something more serious, but it’s important that you don’t miss the signs of normal childhood anxiety.
Anxiety is normal and healthy for children to experience. It can help them deal with new situations, like starting school or making friends and find ways to cope when they’re faced with challenges. This doesn’t mean that every anxious feeling means there’s something wrong.
You should also recognize that anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches. If these persist over time without any other explanation (for example, no infection or injury), consider bringing up your concern with a doctor who specializes in treating mental health issues.
If There Are Changes in Behavior That Seem Out of Character
The first step to getting help for your child is knowing when it’s time to seek assistance. If you notice a change in their behavior that is out of character for them, this could be a sign that something more serious is going on. For example, if a usually outgoing child has become withdrawn and quiet, this might indicate depression or anxiety.
If you feel that something isn’t quite right with your child’s mental health, contact a mental health professional immediately and ask for an evaluation – don’t wait.
If There is a Change in Eating Habits
A child who experiences significant changes in eating habits may be struggling with a mental health issue. Look for:
- Eating too much or too little
- Changes in food preferences
- Changes in eating habits, such as skipping meals and/or binging on junk food
- Not eating at all, even though they are hungry (which can cause malnutrition)
- Eating too fast or too slow (picky eaters tend to rush their meals)
It is also important to monitor your child’s diet for signs of an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Your doctor can help you assess whether you should seek professional treatment for your child’s condition.
The best way to help your child is to be aware of the signs of mental health issues in children and seek professional help. A Health and Human Services (HHS) study reported a noticeable rise in the number of children diagnosed with mental health issues.
The study found the number of children aged between 3 and 17 years diagnosed with anxiety rose by 29% and those with depression by 27%. The findings also suggest concerning changes in the well-being of children and families after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The earlier you can recognize symptoms, the better the outcome is likely to be. If there are changes in behavior or mood that are out of character for your child, it’s important that you find out why and offer support. Don’t ignore these changes.