Determining if a child’s troubling behavior is “part of growing up” or a sign of a mental health problem can be difficult.
Parents should contact a mental health professional if symptoms last weeks or more and interfere with the child’s daily life, says the National Institute of Mental Health.
Warning signs of a mental illness may include:
- Minimal interest in things that the person once enjoyed.
- Low energy.
- Too much or too little sleep.
- Self-harming behaviors.
- Smoking, drinking or drug use.
- Excessive exercise or diet.
- Thoughts of suicide.
- Risky or destructive behavior.