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Mental Health: How to Know If Your Child Has a Mental Illness

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Some people think that young children and teens can't get mental illnesses. Maybe they think toddlers and teens can't get sick because they are too young or don't have enough life experience. Even though a lot of people think this, it's not true. Children and teens are just as likely as adults to have mental health problems. Some teenagers may be more likely to get a mental illness if they've been through trauma, neglect, abuse, or bullying.

Most parents wouldn't ignore a broken bone or other clear signs that their teen has been hurt physically. But when it comes to a teen's mental health, signs of a mental disorder that was already there might not be treated for months or even years.

Sometimes this lack of care is because parents don't notice a teen's signs of a mental illness. Sometimes, parents worry that their teen will be considered "crazy" if they go to therapy.

But early help and good therapy are important if you want your child to feel better.

Teenage Pressures

During the COVID-19 epidemic, experts on young people's mental health have been worried about how hard it is on children and teens. But school cancellations and other stresses related to COVID are not the main reasons teens are stressed. A lot of young people also have trouble with the following:

  • There is too much pressure to do well in school or get into well-known colleges and universities.
  • The pressure to do well in sports, the arts, or other activities outside of school.
  • Tight schedules that don't leave enough time for rest, relaxation, and free play
  • Bullying (in person, on social media, or both) .People still worry about climate change, global conflict, and other big problems.
  • Discrimination based on a person's race, gender, sexual orientation, weight, religion, disability, or other factors
  • Poverty or insufficient money for a safe, stable living place and healthy meals.

How Will I Know If My Teenager Needs Help?

Your child's mental health signs will, of course, be unique to them. But as a parent or caretaker, you have a good idea of what is "normal" for them.

Besides more obvious signs like mood swings, impatience, anger, and tears, you may also notice:

  • Changes in sleep, weight, eating habits, or other daily habits that are big enough to be noticed
  • Getting less interested in things they used to like or stop doing things they used to like
  • Pulling away more than usual from friends, family, and the community
  • Making plans with their closest friends and then canceling them for little or no reason
  • Academic problems can look different or more serious, like when students fail quizzes in their favorite subject or refuse to do assignments that seemed easy before.
  • Constant worries or thoughts that won't go away
  • A brand-new set of friends you've never met before

They won't tell you what's bothering them, even when you've made it as safe as possible for them to do so. Obsession with a certain goal, maybe because they think that their life will be ruined if they don't reach it.

1. Changes in Sleeping Habits

Your teen may say they can't sleep or start napping after school. A mental health problem in a teen could also make them want to stay in bed all day or stay up all night.

2. Loss Of Interest In Everyday Things

If your teen stops doing things they used to enjoy or doesn't want to hang out with other people, they may have a mental disorder.

3. Significant Changes In Academic Performance

Concerns about mental health can make it much harder to stay motivated to do schoolwork. If your child has lost interest in schoolwork or is falling behind, this could be a sign of a mental health problem.

4. Changes In Appetite Or Weight

If your child have an eating problem, they might skip meals, hoard food, or change weight quickly. Weight changes are a common sign of depression.

5. Very Short Temper

Teens with mental illness might get angry too much, cry for no reason, or be irritable.

6. Isolation

A strong desire to be alone or hide too much could also indicate a mental health disorder.

7. Signs Of Using Drugs, Alcohol, Or Other Substances

Cuts, burns, bruises, and other signs of self-harm that your child tries to hide or can't give a full and honest explanation for

8. Sexual Activity Or Desire That Seems New Or Stronger Than It Was Before

Remember that your child may not be in crisis just because they have one of these signs. Changes in hormones, which all tweens and teens go through, can affect your child's mood, academic performance, and other things. However, you must talk to your kid about their mental health if you detect one or more of these indications frequently.

Treatment Options for Teens Mental Illness

If your doctor thinks your teen needs more testing, they may refer your teen to a mental health expert. A mental health expert, like a psychologist or licensed clinical social worker, may talk to you and your teen to find out more.

Some people who work in mental health care give out written questionnaires or other screening tools. Others may also get information from the person who cares for their teen's health.

If you need it, a professional in mental health can give you the right diagnosis. They may also advise you on the best ways to treat your teen's mental health, such as talk therapy or medicine.

Get Your Child Some Help

Everyone in the family is affected by a teen's mental health. If your child has a mental illness, you need to get help for yourself right away.

Keeping your mind strong might be easier if you talk with other parents. Some parents feel better when they talk to other parents who get them. Some people find it helpful to learn about services and educational opportunities in their area.

Find a local support group or talk to the doctor who takes care of your teen to find out about services in your area. It is also helpful to look for online groups or forums that can help, support, or point you in the right direction.

You might even consider going to a therapist without your teenager. If you want to be the best parent for your child but you're feeling overwhelmed by parental stress, talking to a mental health expert can help.

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