Mental Health: Spotting the Signs

As a parent, thinking that your child may have a mental health problem can be extremely worrying. However, it’s important to realise that there are things you can do and there are organisations available who can support you to address your concerns, providing advice and guidance where necessary.

Mental health problems affect 1 in 10 children and young people, and 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem are reported to have not received appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. With early intervention, you can help to manage the problem and prevent it developing into a longer-term issue.

If you’re worried about your child, it may be helpful as a starting point to consider the following:

  • Listen to their tone of voice. Do they sound down or vacant? A flat voice can be a sign of a low mood or depression.
  • Have they become withdrawn from friends and family?
  • Are they often tearful?
  • Do they get more irritated or angry than usual?
  • Do they have trouble sleeping, or are they sleeping much more than usual?
  • Has their performance at school deteriorated?
  • Do they appear to be exhausted for much of the time?
  • Have they lost their appetite?
  • Have they lost interest in activities that they used to enjoy?

Many of the above signs can be part of normal adolescent behaviour and so it’s important to broach any conversation with your child / young person with an open and non-judgmental attitude. So find the right time to talk and be prepared to listen.

If you think professional support is needed, you can access support through your GP and your child’s school. You can also access support through a variety of online resources and via helplines. You’re certainly not alone looking for help.

CXK delivers an Emotional Health and Wellbeing counselling service to schools across Kent. Delivered through one-to-one support it is a confidential service committed to improving and promoting the emotional well-being of children and young people. To find out more about our service, click here.