When raising a child, it is easy to identify their physical needs: food with nutritional value, proper fitting clothing for all types of weather, proper sleeping arrangements, and physical exercise. While a child’s physical health is incredibly important, their mental health is just as crucial. However, identifying and addressing their emotional and mental needs is not quite as obvious or well known as their physical needs. Proper care of a child’s mental health and their physical health often play hand in hand, but unfortunately, children’s mental health struggles are often trivialized or not treated with the proper care to prevent long-standing consequences.
Childhood Mental Health by the Numbers
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that 20% of youth ages 13-18 live with a mental health condition. While this number isn’t extraordinarily high all things considered, it is still alarming. Even worse is that about 70% of these children do not receive the appropriate interventions with the gap between a child’s onset symptoms and intervention being 8-10 years. Failure to recognize these issues can lead to future problems in a child’s life, entrenching their mental health problems deep in their mind.
Sadly, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for youth 10-24 years of age with 90% of victims suffering from underlying mental illness. Many young people suffering from some type of mental health disorder are often not taken seriously when they express concern about their well-being. Without properly treating a child’s mental struggles through mental health counselors like our own in Carrolton, a child’s social and cognitive development can become stunted, leaving them unable to build lasting relationships and being a functioning member of society.
Seeking Proper Treatment
While it can be very difficult to actively notice true signs of a child’s mental health struggles, being mindful of the chance that a child may have underlying issues is crucial. Here are some warning signs to keep a look out for:
- Not eating or throwing up to lose weight
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Severe mood swings
- Repeated alcohol or drug use
- Decline in school performance
- Repeated disobedience or aggression
- Intense anxiety, fear, or worrying that is debilitating and affects daily life
There are many more signs to notice, but if you feel as if a child may be suffering from mental health issues, there are ways to help them.
- Talk Through It: If you notice your child struggling in school, work, with their personal relationships, or at home, open a line of safe and secure communication so that your child feels comfortable expressing what they are feeling. More often than not, a child feels as though they don’t have anyone to talk to that understands how they are feeling so creating a dialogue with them is a great first step.
- Professional Help: Sometimes trying to open a discussion with your child yields no progress. Seeking the help of a professional is nothing to feel poorly about as it is their specialty handling cases such as this. They will be able to better identify any persisting issues and be able to refer any additional care.
No one wants to see their child suffering from physical or mental illnesses, but it does happen. Taking the necessary steps in order to ensure your child’s mental health should be a focus of any parent. If you are looking for a Carrolton based therapy center to assist in any issues you or your child may be facing, do not hesitate to reach out to LifeWorks Counseling Center. Our staff of exceptional providers and mental health counselors are equipped to handle any struggles your child may be facing.