By: Isabella Carson
Mental health issues are very prevalent in this country but little is done about it. People who need help rarely get it and the early warning signs are ignored. Many mental health issues show up when children are young but parents overlook the signs. Children who get therapy when they are younger have been shown to be much better as they get older with that help behind them. So how do you know if your child should see a therapist or not? Writer Katie Hurley gives seven situations that may arise that could be early warning signs:
1. Regression – Often when there is something going on in a child’s life that is traumatizing them in some way they regress back to younger behaviors. There are certain behaviors however that are not merely regression but a warning sign that your child may need help such as bed wetting, tantrums that happen often, or clingy behavior.
2. Death – Children are naturally curious about death. But if your child repeatedly brings up death or dying in conversations it may be time to see someone. Be on the lookout for any language that could be about suicide.
3. Bad behavior – Your child may start acting out because they are not sure how to deal with all of the emotions that they have. They may begin to backtalk someone with authority, exhibit disruptive behavior in school when there previously was none, or become extremely defiant with their parents. Some of this is normal kid behavior but when it happens out of the blue and becomes worse it may be time to think about therapy so that your child can express their emotions.
4. Crying – Children worry and become very sad all of the time when they are in need of some counseling. They are worried about their futures and worried about others around them to the point where they cannot function normally.
5. Self-destructive behavior – Some children tend to resort to self-destructive behavior such as cutting or doing things like digging their nails deep into their skin as a cry for attention. This is a sign that something may be going on and they should get some help from a professional.
6. Isolation – Watch for signs of isolation. A once popular child may suddenly be at home alone all of the time. Keep an ear out for phrases stating that no one likes them or that they are a loser. They could be a victim of bullying at school.
7. Sleep and appetite – If you notice a big difference in your child’s sleep and eating patterns you may want to consult a professional. If they sleep all the time or if they barely get any sleep at all there may be cause for concern. If they refuse to eat or have major appetite changes they could be dealing with their emotions through food.