If you are worried about your child's mental health,it is important to contact your GP. The following is a list of signs which may be displayed in a child or young person with a mental illness:
- Decline in performance at school
- They receive poor grades despite strong efforts
- They repeatedly refuse to go to school
- They regularly worry or feel stressed
- They suffer from persistent nightmares
- Hyperactivity and fidgeting
- Persistent disobedience and aggression
- Frequent temper tantrums
- They get sad or irritable.
You must remember that everyday stresses can cause changes in a child's behaviour, and it is not only important to recognise such behavioural changes, but also to differentiate them from signs of a mental health disorder.
Medication affects young children differently from older children or adults because their brains are in a state of very rapid development. However, if left untreated, serious mental illnesses themselves can negatively impact on brain development. At the same time, even if a young child is diagnosed with a mental illness, it does not necessarily mean medications have to be used.
As a child I showed most, if not all, of the warning signs of a mental health problem. And it is not surprising when you consider the fact that 1 in 5 children have a mental illness (which is 1 in 4 in terms of adults). So if you feel your child may be mentally ill, contact your GP as soon as possible!