Is your child suddenly sullen or distant? Do they seem to have lost interest in things they used to enjoy?
Do they have difficulty concentrating? Are they suddenly failing in school or stopped going to school?
Are they experiencing severe mood swings or an overwhelming sudden fear of something?
Is your child hitting or bullying other children? Are they attempting to hurt themselves?
Is your child having difficulty sleeping or having a lot of nightmares?
Is your child obsessed with his or her weight, shape, or appearance? Are they suddenly neglecting their appearance?
You are not alone. You may realize that something is not right but be confused about what is going on or know where to start.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%. The start of many mental health conditions most often occurs in adolescence. Half of individuals living with mental illness experience onset by the age of 14. This number jumps to 75% by the age of 24.
One in five youth live with a mental health condition, but less than half of these individuals receive needed services. Undiagnosed, untreated or inadequately treated mental health conditions can affect a child’s ability to learn, grow and develop.
Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:
- Behavioral regression or sudden age-inappropriate behaviors
- Changes in school performance
- Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
- Hyperactive behavior
- Frequent nightmares
- Frequent disobedience or aggression
- Frequent temper tantrums
- Sudden clinginess or fear of novel situations
So if this sounds like your child…
– Feels very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
– Seriously trying to harm or kill oneself or making plans to do so
– Severe out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors
– Sudden, overwhelming fear for no reason
– Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant weight loss or weight gain
– Seeing, hearing or believing things that are not real
– Repeatedly using drugs or alcohol
Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality or sleeping habits
Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still
Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
…Then it might be time to get your child some help.
In child and adolescent therapy I may meet with the child and parent together or meet with the child alone. It depends on your child’s age. I may also meet with you to give you tips and suggestions for how to help your child at home. I will explore what’s going on with your child and within your family system. Together, we will work with to identify the source of your child’s difficulties. We will also focus on how to interact with your child in ways that promote long-term, healthy social and emotional development. We will work to strengthen the attachment between you and your child in order to set the stage for future positive interactions.
Together you, your child and I will work together to solve issues.
Together we will work to overcome obstacles to your family and your child’s well-being.
It is never too late to start.
I look forward to providing you professional help in a supportive, trusting environment. If you’re looking for support in managing your child’s mental health needs and an understanding ear, please contact me today for an appointment.