Signs My Child Needs Support With Their Mental Health
It’s Children’s Mental Health Week 2021 and the theme is EXPRESS YOURSELF, to encourage kids to find ways to share their feelings.
Life’s harder than usual currently, so it’s easy to forget how children can also be affected mentally by these circumstances.
This pandemic has caused a huge rise in the use of mental health services for good reason.
Children don’t have the tools to be able to understand their emotions to know when they need support.
So unless a parent, carer or teacher notice, these children can go under the radar and struggle with their mental health alone.
These things can be tricky to notice though if you don’t know what you’re looking for, as some changes can be very subtle.
This is which is why I wanted to list some key things to keep an eye out for.
I’ve compiled these by researching credible websites (linked below) and from personal experience working with children in foster care.
Signs To Look Out For
-Sudden changes in behaviour- Are they doing things they don’t usually, being more challenging or rude?
-Being More Emotional – This can include having more frequent outbursts to things they don’t usually react to, and crying or shouting a lot more.
-Being more argumentative or fighting with people.
-Displaying negative/ critical thoughts and low self-esteem.
-Not wanting to go anywhere or wanting to be with you all the time.
-Problems concentrating on things like TV, books, conversations.
-Sleep problems- Are they sleeping a lot more or less than usual?
-Eating habits changing- Are they eating less or more recently?
-Frequent headaches or stomach aches.
-Self-harming behaviours- Are they covering their arms or legs all of the time? Do they flinch if they catch their arms or legs on something? Any scratches or cuts with no explained accident? Any scissors or sharp objects gone missing around the home?
If you see any of these signs, try not to panic.
Every child is unique and therefore reacts and behaves differently to others who face the same problem.
Be mindful that the signs you see may not have anything to do with mental health, sometimes it can be physical conditions that can affect their behaviour. My son acted out of character recently and it ended up being an ear infection (Auris Ear Care have a helpful guide on ear infection treatments) so consult your doctor before coming to conclusions.
If there’s an urgent worry about your child’s mental health, seek help from the services listed here, or for immediate risk of danger call 999.
How To Support Your Child With Their Mental Health
Last year I wrote a post containing advice on ways you can help your child look after their mental health, which may help.
There are also various websites that have useful information and resources, including:
Young Minds– Advice on how to help your child with specific mental health conditions and challenging life events.
Children’s Mental Health Week– Resources and ideas to help children express themselves for schools, parents and carers.
Place2Be– Mental health charity with over 25 years’ experience working with families across the UK.
NSPCC – Advice about mental health and self-harm.