We want to take moment to discuss Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Many children and adolescents need help dealing with school stress–such as homework, test anxiety, bullying, or peer pressure. Others need help to discuss overwhelming feelings or feelings about family issues. Additionally, significant life events can cause stress that might lead to problems with behavior, mood, sleep, appetite, and academic or social functioning.
In some cases, it’s not always clear what caused a child to suddenly seem withdrawn, worried, stresses, sulky, or tearful…but if you feel your child might have emotional or behavioral issues or needs help coping with a difficult life event, trust your instincts… Dealing with these issues early can help prevent long term social, emotional, and/or physical concerns.
Signs that a child or adolescent may benefit from therapy include:
- developmental delay in speech, language, or toilet training
- learning or attention problems (such as ADHD)
- behavioral problems (such as excessive anger, acting out, bedwetting or eating disorders)
- a significant drop in grades, particularly if your child normally maintains high grades
- episodes of sadness, tearfulness, or depression
- social withdrawal or isolation
- being the victim of bullying or bullying other children
- decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities
- overly aggressive behavior (such as biting, kicking, or hitting)
- sudden changes in appetite (particularly in adolescents)
- insomnia or increased sleepiness
- excessive school absenteeism or tardiness
- mood swings (e.g., happy one minute, upset the next)
- development of or an increase in physical complaints (such as headache, stomachache, or not feeling well) despite a normal physical exam by your doctor
- management of a serious, acute, or chronic illness
- signs of alcohol, drug, or other substance use (such as solvents or prescription drug abuse)
- problems in transitions (following separation, divorce, or relocation)
- grief issues
- therapy following sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or other traumatic events
- Significantly poor boundaries
If you have concerns about your child’s social, emotional, or behavioral concerns–call a therapist in your area. Most therapists are happy to take a few minutes over the phone to discuss your concerns and if they think your child can benefit from therapy. To learn more about Child and Adolescent Mental Health needs and services, visit: Brighter Futures Counseling’s Website or The American Psychological Association’s Website. You can also check out this short video that talks to parents about identifying a mental health need with your child: Mental Health Awareness Video.