child suffering from mental illness

Mental Illness in Children? 9 Clear Signs

We feel uncertain and uneasy when talking about mental health. This is because we do not know what mental illness exactly is and only know the image which is shown in the electronic and print media.  However, know that mental health, especially of children, is something we should all be aware of.

So, in today’s guide, we will see how parents can know their child is suffering from mental illness.

Before delving into the signs of mental illness in children, here are some facts which are important for you to know. Statistics show that 20% of children experience some form of mental health problem in their lives. Of this 20%, only 17% of children receive treatment while 83% remain untreated. A sublime example of this is Canada whose youth suicide rate is the 3rd highest in the industrialized world.

It is important to mention here that recognizing mental illness in children is more difficult and more complex than recognizing it in adults. This is because children’s mental illness varies from that of adults. Thus, it becomes harder to identify the signs of mental illness in youth.

Why Parents Do Not Recognize Mental Illness Signs In Children?

Here are a couple of reasons why parents do not recognize mental illness signs in children on time:

  1. Parents do not know the symptoms of mental disorders in children
  2. It is difficult to tell whether the signs are of regular or irregular behavior
  3. The social stigma surrounding the concept of mental disorder
  4. High cost and logistical challenges involved
  5. Children may express different symptoms that adults

If you are aware of mental disorder signs in adults, you can judge a child on this scale. This is because children express the signs differently than adults. For instance, children reflect more irritability when they are feeling a mental disorder. Whereas, adults appear more sad and gloomy when they are going through mental trauma.

Read: Improve Your Mental Health With 9 Powerful Habits

So, the question stands, how can you tell if your children are going through a mental disorder? Here is how to tell:

8 Warning Signs Your Child is Suffering From Mental Illness

  1. Mood Changes

If you are observing extended sadness of two or more weeks in your child, then know that it is not regular behavior. Talk to your children’s school counselor and see if the behavior is the same in the school as well or not. If the problem exists at the school as well, then it is a clear indication of a child with mental illness.

  1. Intense Feelings

The intense feelings can include but are not limited to the overwhelming fear, racing heart, and fast breath. If these feelings are becoming common in your child, it is time to be attentive.

  1. Behaviour Changes

Personality or behavior changes like anger going out of control, the desire of hurting others, and self-harm are the clear signs of mental disorder in children.

  1. Difficulty in Concentrating

Signs like difficulty in focus or sitting still for very long can indicate the mental disorder of your child. Moreover, take close observation of your child’s performance in school and other activities.

  1. Unexplained Weight Loss

Weight loss happens when your child loses appetite and gets frequent vomiting. If this is the case, your child may have symptoms of mental illness.

  1. Physical Symptoms

Although Physical aches are normal in the early ages of a child if these are prolonged then they can also be symptoms of emotional disorder. These disorders include stomach aches and headaches.

  1. Physical Harm

Physical harms include harming yourself like cutting and burning. Moreover, it includes suicidal thoughts and self-inflicting harmful ideas. If you see this in your child, then a check-up from a mental health professional is inevitable.

  1. Substance Abuse

Children often take help from drugs or alcohol to cope with their feeling of distress and anxiety. This is the clearest sign of a mental disorder and if you observe it then something needs to be evaluated.

  1. Isolation From Family & Friends

Being an introvert is fine but the problem arrives when a child starts to avoid friends and family altogether. This is an indication that your child is not taking interest in any person; rather, prefers solitude all time.

If you see any of these signs of mental illness in your child, make sure you react quickly and talk to a professional on this matter. You can take some immediate measures as well to help your child get instant relief. Below are some of the measures you can take to support a child with mental health issues.

How to Support Your Child With Mental Illness?

Below are some of the ways you can support your child’s mental disorder.

  • Create a comfortable environment
  • Find time to talk privately
  • Be an active listener while your child is talking
  • Be honest in what you talk
  • Express your honest observations
  • Be Supportive
  • Seek ways to relax and have fun with your child
  • Inform your child’s school staff about the mental condition

Final Thoughts

Remember that children’s mental diagnosis is difficult as they have different ways to express it than adults. So, to make a 100% accurate diagnosis, it is indispensable to consult your child’s doctor about it. You can also talk to your child’s teacher, close friends, or loved ones about it to make sure he/she feels comfortable when around people.

Once the mental illness is diagnosed, get help from trained professionals and not try different methods just to avoid the social stigma.

Do you think your child has any sign of suffering from mental illness? What do you think about these mental illness signs? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comment section below.




Leave a Reply