Early warning signs and symptoms of mental health issues in children
Here are early warning signs or changes in behaviour that parents need to look for to keep kids’ mental health in check.
It's challenging for parents to tell if a child’s emotion or behaviour is due to issues in their mental health. Every child is different and has their own way of expressing themselves and their emotions. They often show signs that point towards their psychological problems. That is the right time for parents to notice them and intervene. Children experience ups and downs frequently, which has an impact on how they feel and act. However, there are times when kids don't 'bounce back from the lows, which starts to damage other aspects of their lives. This may indicate that a child is experiencing mental health issues. It's important for parents to notice these signs in their children and if they go on for more than a few weeks, then talk with your child and get them professional help. (Also read: Parenting tips: 5 tips to help boost your child's mental health )
Talking to HT Lifestyle, Nishtha Bijlani, Counselling Therapist at ThinkRight.me, says " Firstly, a parent must be aware that everything they display, as behaviour and emotions, is easily being mirrored by the child. So, when a parent notices strong reactions towards certain things, they must first check if they have projected that behaviour onto their kid. The root cause is very often found in the kid's closest environment. Secondly, look out for signs if the kid refuses activities he/she enjoyed doing or if the kid has become unusually quiet or is behaving in a needy manner. Learn to keep doors of communication always open. The unfiltered expression should be encouraged right from the beginning."
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Sabrina Merchant, Certified Yoga Teacher and Happiness Coach at ThinkRight.me, suggested early signs or changes in behaviour that parents need to look for to keep kids’ mental health in check.
1. Becoming extremely self-critical: Constantly finding flaws in themselves and complaining about everything they do.
2. Change in appetite: Extreme increase in appetite or loss of appetite.
3. Extreme mood swings: Sudden bursts of anger, sadness, getting hyper for no reason or sudden withdrawals and demand to stay alone or aloof.
4. Sudden lack or loss of concentration: Unable to sit and focus on any activity for more than 2 mins. Easily losing interest in things and people.
5. Constant worry and fear about things.
6. Picking up fights for petty things and getting extremely aggressive in behaviour.
7. Difficulty sleeping: Staying up till late at night or waking up late in the morning. Erratic sleeping patterns. Waking up in the middle of the night with a racing heartbeat.