Parents often describe these common concerns and say, “it’s just not getting any better.”
The following behaviors may indicate your child is struggling with a health condition that requires professional attention, proper evaluation, and a coordinated plan of treatment and supports. Too often, children and youth are labeled as “difficult” or “defiant” and parents are judged to be “too loose” or not providing the right amount of “discipline.” What we know is that with a lot of mental, emotional, developmental and other health conditions, the symptoms are expressed in behaviors that seem to be out-of-control or just not getting any better. If we can look at these behaviors as communication, we can start shifting the dynamics and attitudes that undermine a healing and safe space for families to get the help they need.
There is no shame in needing help. Mental health is an integral part of the health of our bodies, it just originates in our brains and our minds. Your child may or may not meet criteria for a formal mental health “diagnosis” – either way, the struggles you’re seeing that aren’t alleviating with time are invitations for you to seek help from someone who knows how to sort through what’s going on.
If the behaviors below sound familiar to you and you are having a difficult time getting doctors or teachers to take your concerns seriously, DIY Advocacy Center may help you advocate for more responsive care.
- Refusing to go to school
- Excessive sleeping
- Cutting or other self-harm
- Complaints of people hating her; doesn’t have friends
- Rarely smiles or laughs anymore
- Says he doesn’t want to be here anymore.
- Extreme struggles with school work; failing classes
- A sudden change in peer group
- Alcohol or drug use
- Won’t shower or take care of basic hygiene
- Angry or abusive reactions when being asked to help around the house
- Talks about self as worthless or a failure
- Describes self as a burden to others
- Frequent battling with family members
- Loss of interest in activities that she used to love doing
- Isolating and not wanting to talk or join others in activities
LEARN ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH
Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
Symptoms of a mental health condition are often expressed in behaviors that, to many may seem within one’s control with willpower or awareness alone. This is not often the case. Treatment and coping strategies, along with the support of our family and friends can help people with a mental health condition live fulfilling lives, just like everyone else.
Click here to learn more about common mental health conditions and what the symptoms look like.