Symptoms of mental illness in children

The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board is sharing an article from the National Alliance on Mental Illness/Ohio chapter based upon parents wanting more information about early warning signs and treatment for mental illness in children. Director Terry Russell states, “One in four adults experience a mental health problem in any given year in the United States.”

One in 10 children lives with a serious mental or emotional disorder. Yet, less than one-half of these children receive mental health care. The following warning signs should be known by every parent, and the parent should consult with their child’s pediatrician if any of these symptoms are present over a period of time not in a one-time situation:

Acting withdrawn, sad or overly anxious.

Extreme difficulty interacting with friends and/or sibling.

Substantial mood swings.

Persistent drop in school performance.

Change in sleeping and/or eating patterns.

Increased or persistent use of alcohol or drugs.

Persistent aggressive behavior.

Threats to self or others.

Hallucinations, paranoia or delusions.

Other sudden or extreme changes.

If a parent suspects a mental health problem, they should:

Talk with their pediatrician,

Get a referral to a mental health specialist.

Work with the child’s school.

Connect with other families who are experiencing similar challenges.

The earlier an evaluation is conducted, if a diagnosis is given, the sooner parents can seek the most effective treatment, supports and services available for their child.

The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties is committed to sharing information and resources for better mental health and the prevention of substance abuse. If you would like more information, please call the board at (419) 448-0640. The board’s office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Nancy Cochran,

executive director