A Child is Feeling:

A child is feeling:

  • Worthless or guilty a lot
  • Grief for a prolonged time after a loss or death
  • Anxious or worried a lot more than other young people
  • Constantly concerned about physical problems or appearance
  • Very angry most of the time, cries a lot, or overreacts to things
  • Frightened that his or her mind is controlled or is out of control
  • Really sad and hopeless without good reason, and the feelings don’t go away
  • Extremely fearful or has unexplained fears or more fears than most children

A Child is Experiencing Big Changes:

Experiencing big changes, such as:

  • Neglecting personal appearance
  • Doing much worse in school
  • Hearing voices that cannot be explained
  • Losing interest in things he/she usually enjoyed
  • Unexplained changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Daydreaming too much and unable to get things done
  • Feeling that life is too hard to handle or talking about suicide
  • Avoiding friends or family and wanting to be alone all the time

A Child is Limited By:

Is limited by:

  • Persistent nightmares
  • Inability to sit still or focus attention
  • Thoughts that race almost too fast to follow
  • Poor concentration and can’t make decisions
  • Worry about being harmed, hurting others, or about doing something “bad”
  • The need to wash, clean things, or perform certain routines dozens of times a day

A Child's Behavior is Causing Problems

Behaves in ways that cause problems, including:

  • Extreme moods
  • Use of alcohol or drugs
  • Unexplained cuts and burns
  • Risk-taking behavior, such as reckless driving or being sexually promiscuous
  • Continuing to diet or exercise obsessively although bone-thin
  • Often hurting other people, destroying property, or breaking the law
  • Eating large amounts of food and then forcing vomiting, abusing laxatives, or taking enemas to avoid weight gain

Should I Seek Treatment?

If a child is experiencing any of the above warning signs, it's important to get help as soon as possible. A primary care doctor can help guide you in the proper direction by referring you to health care professionals who specialize in child and adolescent behavioral issues. The counselor at your child’s school may be another good source of information. Help is available, so don’t let anything stand in the way of a child’s healthy future. Read more here about next steps. For a more in-depth review of your options, download our free Parents Guide to Children's Mental Health.