What to do When Your Kid Needs Mental Help

Untitled-design---2023-12-27T174255.517


In the finely woven mosaic of youth, mental health forms a vital thread that can significantly impact a child's development and behavior.

Recognizing signs of mental health issues in children can be challenging as they often manifest differently than in adults.

Symptoms might range from subtle changes such as shifting moods, declining academic performance, or social withdrawal, to more noticeable ones like frequent tantrums, persistent sadness, or even talk of self-harm.

This guide aims to shed light on these signs, emphasizing the importance of early intervention and providing an overview of how parents can support their children through this complex journey.


Anxiety Therapists in Colorado

Randal Thomas, SWC

Randal Thomas, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jessica Titone, LPCC

Jessica Titone, LPCC

Colorado
(720) 437-9089
Emily Murphy, LPC

Emily Murphy, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Donna Janiec, LPC, NCC

Donna Janiec, LPC, NCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Meghan Purcell, LPCC

Meghan Purcell, LPCC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Julia Rosales, MA, LPCC

Julia Rosales, MA, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Barbra Styles, LPC, LAC

Barbra Styles, LPC, LAC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jacquelynne Sils, LPCC

Jacquelynne Sils, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Paitton Callery, LPCC, ATR-P

Paitton Callery, LPCC, ATR-P

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Katherine (Kate) Taylor, MBA, MA, LPC

Katherine (Kate) Taylor, MBA, MA, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Sarah Lawler, LPCC

Sarah Lawler, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021


Understanding Child Mental Health

Mental health, often overlooked in the realm of childhood development, plays a paramount role in shaping the overall well-being of a child.

It is much more than the absence of mental illnesses. Child mental health encapsulates their emotional, psychological, and social welfare, laying the groundwork for how they learn, communicate, and build relationships.

It molds their ability to adapt to change, handle stress, and make decisions - integral skills as they navigate through the various stages of their life.

Children, much like adults, can face a range of mental health issues.

These include anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders, mood disorders such as depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among others.

Each condition manifests differently and can be influenced by a multitude of factors such as genetics, environment, and life experiences.



Identifying Signs Your Child May Need Help

  • Changes in Mood or Behavior: Sudden or extreme shifts in mood, behavior, personality, or sleeping habits can be a sign. This includes frequent tantrums or intense irritability.

  • Difficulty in Concentrating: Trouble focusing or thinking clearly might indicate an issue such as ADHD.

  • Declining Academic Performance: A sudden drop in grades or loss of interest in schoolwork can signal a problem.

  • Loss of Interest in Activities: If your child suddenly doesn't want to participate in activities they once enjoyed, it could be a red flag.

  • Withdrawal from Social Interactions: Avoiding or losing interest in spending time with friends or family members is another potential sign.

  • Changes in Appetite or Weight: Significant weight loss or gain, or drastic changes in eating habits can indicate a mental health concern.

  • Frequent Headaches or Stomachaches: Unexplained physical complaints can sometimes signal emotional distress.

  • Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt: Expressions of negative self-esteem or excessive guilt may suggest issues such as depression or anxiety.

  • Talk of Death or Suicide: Any talk of death, suicide, or self-harm is a serious sign that immediate help is needed.


How to Approach Your Child

Talking about mental health with your child can feel daunting, but it's a crucial conversation that can help them understand and articulate their feelings better.

Start by choosing a calm, comfortable environment where they feel safe.

You could initiate the discussion casually, perhaps by sharing an anecdote or a story that touches on mental health. This can help make the topic less intimidating and more relatable.

Creating a non-judgmental environment is key.

It's important to reassure your child that it's okay to have different emotions and that everyone experiences ups and downs.

Encourage them to express their feelings without fear of criticism or repercussions.

Empathize with their experiences and validate their feelings, even if they seem trivial or difficult to understand from an adult perspective.

Active listening plays a significant role in these discussions.

This means not just hearing the words your child says, but also paying attention to their body language and emotional cues.

Avoid interrupting, offering solutions too quickly, or dismissing their feelings. Instead, ask open-ended questions to encourage them to share more.

Show them through your responses that their feelings are important and that you're there to support them, not to judge or critique them.

This approach can help build trust and make your child feel more comfortable opening up about their mental health.


Seeking Professional Help

When it comes to seeking professional help for your child's mental health, there are several options available.

Psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and pediatricians can all provide mental health services.

They employ various therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), play therapy, and family therapy, each designed to address specific issues and needs.

It's important to understand that these professionals and therapies are not one-size-fits-all.

The effectiveness of a particular therapy depends on the child's unique circumstances, including their specific mental health issue, age, and personal preferences.

Finding the right mental health professional for your child may require some research and patience.

Start by consulting with your child's pediatrician or a school counselor who can provide referrals.

You can also seek recommendations from trusted friends or family. When choosing a professional, consider their credentials, experience, and treatment approach.

It's crucial to find someone who makes your child feel comfortable and understood.

Remember, it's okay to seek a second opinion if you're unsure about the diagnosis or treatment plan.

Your child's mental health is a priority, and finding the right professional is a significant step.



Supporting Your Child Through Their Mental Health Journey

As a parent, your support is instrumental in your child's mental health journey.

Open communication is key; ensure that your child feels comfortable discussing their feelings and experiences with you, knowing that they will be met with empathy and understanding.

Encourage them to adopt healthy habits such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep.

Self-care activities that they enjoy—be it reading, drawing, or just taking a quiet walk—can also provide a therapeutic outlet for their emotions.

Beyond these, your continuous reassurance and affirmation can go a long way in boosting their confidence and resilience.

Remind them that it's okay to seek help, that they are not alone in their struggles, and that they are loved and valued just as they are.

This steady support can make a world of difference in helping your child navigate their mental health journey with strength and optimism.



Conclusion

Navigating your child's mental health journey can be challenging, but remember, you're not alone in this.

Open communication, creating a non-judgmental environment, and active listening are essential first steps.

Seeking professional help tailored to your child's unique needs can provide further assistance, and your continuous support and reassurance can fortify their resilience.

Encourage healthy habits and self-care activities that they enjoy.

Remain patient and empathetic; it's a journey, not a race. You're doing an incredible job, and every step you take is a testament to the love and care you have for your child. 


×
Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

The Complete Guide to Group Therapy for Teens
Unraveling the Impacts of Teenage Bullying

Related Posts

 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
February 25th, 2024

overcomers counseling logo

Many of us are often faced with struggles and hardships and finding help can be difficult. However, at Overcomers Counseling, we are here to help you in your time of need. We are passionate about people and we believe that ANYONE can be an overcomer if they are willing to pursue it.  Don't let another day go by without getting the help you desire.

(719) 345-2424 office
(855) 719-2549 fax
5585 Erindale Dr. Ste 204 Colorado Springs, CO 80918 mailing

Support Team Hours

 Sunday   Closed
 Monday   8:00am - 5:00pm
 Tuesday   8:00am - 5:00pm
 Wednesday    8:00am - 5:00pm
 Thursday   8:00am - 5:00pm
 Friday   8:00am - 5:00pm
 Saturday  Closed