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Children are exposed to a variety of stresses and pressures in different aspects of their lives, which can impact their mental health. Parents often find it difficult to identify mental struggles in their children since childhood development is a dynamic process. Many parents may only begin to look for solutions when these issues persist and worsen over time. Here are five significant signs that indicate your child may need to visit a mental health professional.
Certain changes in personality traits, behaviors, and interests are part of normal childhood growth. However, if these changes do not appear to be part of the normal childhood developmental cycle, it may be a sign that your child is exhibiting mental health symptoms. Children exhibiting dramatic personality changes may show signs of depression or anxiety, emotional instability, and attention deficit disorder.
Changes in Academic Performance
If your child is having difficulty focusing on schoolwork, achieving high grades, or completing homework, they may be experiencing mental health challenges. These issues could be related to low self-esteem, attention deficit disorder, or a behavioral problem that requires the attention of a mental health professional.
Diet and Weight Changes
It’s possible that your child’s refusal to eat or tendency to binge eat might indicate that they are dealing with mental health challenges like stress, anxiety, or depression. Neglecting to address these issues could harm their self-esteem and lead to disordered eating or other harmful relationships with food later in life.
Family and Social Changes
If your child is showing a sudden lack of interest in extracurricular activities, making poor decisions when interacting with friends or loved ones, or disregarding school morals and policies, it may be a sign that they are struggling with mental health issues. These issues can lead to disobedience and a lack of respect for authority figures at home or school, creating a negative social circle.
Suicidal Tendencies or Self-Harm
If your child is discussing suicidal thoughts or expressing a desire to harm themselves or others, talk to a mental health provider immediately. In some cases, you may notice signs of self-harm before the topic is ever discussed. In this case, the most proactive way to help your child would be to have them evaluated by a mental health professional and begin treatment or therapy. Doing so will enable them to address harmful thoughts and behaviors and prevent potential long-term effects associated with mood disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Being able to recognize your child’s moods and behaviors can aid in identifying signs of mental health concerns. WFMC Health’s mental and behavioral health professionals can work alongside your child to address these concerns safely and effectively.
This article is meant for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for advice from a qualified medical professional.