Five Signs of Mental Illness in Children

Five Signs of Mental Illness in Children

August 18, 2020

Detecting issues of mental health in children now means they can enjoy a more productive adult lifetime in Lubbock, TX later. Children’s mental health must be considered if you anticipate family change through divorce or custody, but also in general, as recognizing signs can increase quality of life. Here are five signs that your child may be facing mental health challenges:

  • Persistent sadness: Feelings of sadness may be merely situational and not a suggestion of a greater disorder. However, if these feelings continue for two or more weeks with no bright spots or signs of improvement, your child may require a mental health evaluation. Depression or PTSD often provoke long times of sadness, and your child may simply not be able to dig themselves out of it.
  • Withdrawal: If your usually-sociable child suddenly loses interest in friends, sports or other previously-beloved activities, there is something wrong. There may be a misunderstanding between friends that requires communication, but if this is sudden and your child has no interest in resolving it, there could be something bigger going on. Be especially wary if your child cannot describe for certain why they lost interest. That often suggests the cause is biochemical in nature.
  • Behavior changes: Outbursts, extreme irritability and drastic mood swings often suggest more than a temporary frustration. Children who face abuse and cannot reach out to anyone (or feel like they can’t) will often lash out in loud and violent ways. Relatives, friends and teachers will also notice these changes and likely point them out to you. Take them seriously. PTSD often manifests as disruptive behaviors and angry words. If you notice these changes, try speaking with your child and secure a mental health evaluation.
  • Struggles with school: Reduced academic performance and skipped classes are often signs of mental health struggles. This is especially true if school itself or someone at school is the source of these issues and leaves your child scared, depressed or anxious. Your child may also have difficulty concentrating, whether it is on schoolwork or a conversation at the dinner table. Depression, hopelessness and anxiety can contribute to this, and it is a good idea to diagnose these conditions early.
  • Talk of injury or death: If a child speaks of suicide or self-harm, act immediately. This often reflects extreme unhappiness, and it needs attention from a mental health professional. Dismissing these thoughts and feelings as merely a phase or hormones could result in a severely damaged child later. If you cannot get your child to discuss these feelings with you, find them a counselor they can open up to and explore their reasons for feeling this way. It could save your child’s life.

The Law Office of Rob Biggers offers family law services to clients in in Lubbock, TX. While it is important to monitor children’s mental health during divorce or custody proceedings, that is not the only time when children may show signs of mental illness or challenges. Contact our office today to address any family law matters and learn how to pursue them without compromising mental health in children.

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