Open Accessibility Menu

Could Your Child Benefit from Mental Health Help?

Could Your Child Benefit from Mental Health Help?

Children and teens can be sad, anxious, angry and irritable at times. In many cases, challenging behaviors and emotions are an expected part of growing up. 

Still, mental health disorders can happen to people of all ages, and some behaviors in children and teens may signal a more serious problem. What's just a stage, and what's cause for concern? These signs, as identified by the National Institute of Mental Health, can help you know when your child or teen may benefit from a health care provider's attention. 

What to watch for in young children 

Children may: 

  • Have frequent tantrums or be intensely irritable much of the time. 

  • Talk frequently about fears or worries. 

  • Complain about headaches or stomachaches with no known medical cause. 

  • Be unable to sit quietly except when watching TV or playing video games. 

  • Struggle academically or have a recent decline in grades. 

  • Repeat actions or often check things out of fear bad things will happen. 

What to watch for in tweens and teens 

Older kids may: 

  • Show less interest in activities or interests they once enjoyed. 

  • Have low energy. 

  • Sleep too much or too little. 

  • Diet or exercise excessively or fear weight gain. 

  • Engage in self-harming behavior, such as cutting or burning their skin. 

  • Smoke, drink or use drugs. 

  • Engage in risky behavior alone or with friends. 

  • Have thoughts of suicide. 

  • Say they hear things others can't hear. 

Mental health is an important part of your child's overall well-being. Seek help if your child's or teen's behavior lasts for a few weeks or longer. And seek help if the behavior is distressing for your child or your family or interferes with your child's ability to function at school, with friends or at home. If your child's behavior isn't safe, or if your child talks about hurting himself or herself or someone else, get help immediately. 

Where to find help 

Contact your health care provider if you think something is amiss. They can provide reassurance or help you get in touch with a specialist. You can also contact Lake Charles Memorial Behavioral Health Clinic to learn about resources available to you and your family. For more information, call 337.480.7800.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health