Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Elementary Emotions: Does My Child Have a Mental Health Issue?

Seeing your children suffer through any kind of illness is possibly the worst thing for a parent. A mental illness is at the top of the list as you don’t always know its present until the child isn’t doing well in school or is being bullied by friends. There are a few things that you can look for in children that can give you an indication that the child has a mental health issue before you visit a doctor. Here are just a few things for you to look for:

Mood Swings

There are times when your child might not be chipper and happy, but it shouldn’t be all the time. Your child shouldn’t be lashing out at nothing during the day after being happy or sad. These are mood swings that many children don’t exhibit unless there is something going on in the mind. Talk to the child about problems that might be present at school or at home as this could be the root of what’s wrong, but in most situations, mood swings usually mean something a bit more detailed.

Weight Issues

Pay attention to what your child eats and drinks. Sometimes, children who have a mental illness will lose a good bit of weight in a short time. You might notice vomiting that isn’t caused by a virus or the use of products to induce vomiting or a sudden weight loss. This could indicate that the child is dealing with people who are making comments about the child’s weight and not looking like everyone else.

Harming the Body

Some children don’t want their parents to see them without clothes on or even with minimal clothing on, such as when they are in the bathroom. It’s important to pay attention to any odd marks that are on the body and talk about how they occurred. A sign of a mental illness is harming the body in a way that disfigures the skin or even a deeper layer of the tissue. At times, the child might want to harm the body to the point of committing suicide, which is when you need to step in and seek professional help. This is an issue that is more prevalent in teenagers rather than younger children, however.

Drug Use

Using drugs is a way that some children think that they can deal with mental issues. They think that the substances can take away the feelings that they are experiencing. Look for any odd smells or any odd behaviors in the way of concentrating or sleeping more than usual as these can be signs that the child might be using some kind of drug.

As a parent, you need to be a role model and a positive influence for your child. You also need to be there as an outlet if the child has problems that you don’t know about. Sometimes, the child isn’t even aware that there is something going on in the mind. A professional counseling center that is stocked with high quality therapists who have gotten either their online counseling degrees or accreditation from a physical institution, can often help with mental healthy issues so that the child can feel normal once again.

Tim Esterdahl

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