While it might seem alarming to know that one in five children are suffering from a mental health condition, it’s perhaps of some comfort to know that most are wholly diagnosable and entirely treatable. That said, the reality is that almost two thirds of those children get little help, if they receive any at all.
The reasons for this lack of help may be wide and far ranging, but if you suspect that your child may have a mental health condition, it’s important that you don’t contribute to this statistic and benefit from professional help.
What effect an untreated mental health problem can have upon a child:
There are many ways in which a child might be affected by a mental health condition, but their ability to function normally while at home, school and in their community may be one of the first factors that can be attributed to their mental health.
A child with a mental health condition who hasn’t been referred for treatment to a medical professional, such as a doctor or counselor, stands a much higher risk of producing poor results at school and may participate in activities that get them in trouble.
How to tell if your child may need intervention from a mental health professional:
As a parent, family member or caregiver, you may notice some changes in your child’s behavior or emotional state, but not know whether you should seek help for them. Here are some indicators that it might be time to take your child for a mental health assessment:
- Your child’s performance at school has deteriorated
- Despite your child trying hard at school, their grades are consistently low
- They may be worried or anxious more of the time
- Your child may steadfastly refuse to attend school or take part in normal activities
- You may observe them fidgeting or becoming hyperactive more often
- They are suffering from persistent nightmares
- Temper tantrums and angry moods may be more frequent
- Your child is sad, grumpy or depressed more of the time
Spotting these signs, especially when they persist day in and day out, and reacting promptly can help your child reach their full potential and begin to feel better about themselves and life, much more quickly.
What is the first step to take if you suspect your child may be mentally unwell?
You’d be strongly advised to make an appointment to see your child’s doctor or make an appointment with a counselor, who will go on to advise you of any further steps to take.
If your child is diagnosed with a mental health problem, there is absolutely no need to panic, and no need to worry about your child not being able to recover and lead a happy, healthy life. Provided you seek help for your child when you believe there to be a problem, then there is no reason why they won’t respond positively to treatment. Having the support of the family will also aid your child’s recovery, and it’s important that wherever possible, your child is involved in decisions made about their treatment.
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