Mental health conditions are very common. Research shows that 1 in 6 youth/adolescents will experience a mental health condition in any given time. Additionally, 50% of all lifetime mental health conditions begin before the age of 14 and 75% start before the age of 24. However, identifying warning signs or symptoms and seeking treatment early can make a difference in reducing the impact of a mental health condition.
To be able to provide the best possible care for your children’s mental health, it is helpful to be aware of what to look for, when to worry and how to respond.
Children go through developmental phases that include changes in emotions, thoughts and behavior. Most of the time, these are typical periods in development, such as the “terrible twos” when children usually have trouble separating and experience “melt-downs,” which is a stark contrast to one year olds who are not as troubled by exploring their world.
When teenagers give you the cold shoulder, shut down or “snap” at you, they may be trying, as teens should, to become their own individuals. During this time, they’re developing their personal identities and breaking away from the family. Again, this is typical behavior. But when this type of situation persists or begins causing difficulty in their daily life, it may be a symptom of a mental health condition. This is the time to intervene.
Parent Perspectives Survey on Kids’ Mental Health Amid COVID-19
A 2021 poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of NAMI finds that an overwhelming number of parents support mental health education in schools and “mental health days” for their children.
What to Look For and When to Act
Everyone experiences a “bad day” from time to time, but when your child seems to be having difficulty with routine daily tasks, it’s important to take notice. Gain awareness of what to look for, when to worry and how to respond if your child is struggling with their mental health.
Finding Mental Health Care for Your Child
Finding mental health services for your child can often seem like an immense challenge. Read our tips on how to help your child get the care they need.
Getting Your Child Mental Health Support and Accommodations in School
Often, when children are grappling with emotional and behavioral challenges, these difficulties interfere with their school performance and functioning. Improve your understanding of how to advocate for your child’s needs in school.
What to Do If Your Child Is in Crisis
A mental health crisis is when your child is at risk of harming themselves or others, or if their emotions and behavior seem extreme and out of control. Learn the warning signs of a mental health crisis and what to do.
How to Talk to Your Child About Their Mental Health
Openly talking to your children is a great way to help decrease this stigma, but it can be tough to know how to start the conversation. Read our tips on how to start the conversation with your child.
Sometimes children who are experiencing severe symptoms with their mental health condition may need a higher level of care than outpatient programs can provide. Explore whether residential placement is right for your child and what that would entail.