Tips To Help Parents Spot Signs Of Mental Health Struggles Early 

As a parent, you always worry about the well-being of your child. When they are ill, you give them medicine and monitor their temperature. If they fall, you clean any graze they get and wipe away any tears that fall. If they seriously injure themselves, such as a broken arm, you take them to the hospital to get it mended. These types of injuries they sustain are visible. You can see the cut on their knee or arm. You can see that they do not look well and see the pain on their face from a broken bone. 

However, you cannot see the struggles they might be having internally. These struggles can occur at any age. Mental health struggles are not just prevalent in teenagers and young adults. For instance, a staggering one in six children (17.4%) between the ages of 2-8 years old have been diagnosed with a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. 

Knowing that your child is struggling with their mental health can be upsetting for any parent. One way you can help is to spot any signs of mental health struggles early. In doing so, you can help them find the support they need and equip them with the tools to help them cope with their struggles. 

Unusual Behavior 

A common sign that your child might be struggling with their mental health is that their behaviors have changed. It could be that they are more isolated than usual and more withdrawn from conversations. 

They might become more argumentative than they once were and more agitated. Seeing your child this way is challenging for any parent. You must be patient and avoid doing anything that could further upset them. Instead, remain calm and talk to them about how they feel and see if they are willing to share if anything has upset them. 

Changes In Mood 

Similar to changes in their behavior, you might even notice a difference in their mood. If they are usually quite an upbeat and positive, you may see that their mood is lower. They might not be as lively as they once were. 

Different mental health struggles will likely have various indicators. If they struggle with anxiety, they might seem more tense and fidgety. They might be more irritable than usual or have difficulty concentrating. 

They might even be suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). If you are unsure about what MDD is, Talkiatry has created an in-depth guide about what is MDD, the signs to look out for and what treatment options are available. 

If you notice a change in their mood, monitor it for a few days, even a week, to see if there is any improvement. It could be that they had a bad day at school or a falling out with a friend, or it could indicate a deeper issue that needs to be resolved. 

Performance In School  

If you notice that your child’s behavior has changed, consider calling the school to see if their performance has changed. For parents whose child usually performs well in school, rarely has any issues, and does not get into trouble, hearing that they are failing and being disruptive can be a shock. The change in their performance can also indicate that they are struggling with something and have not yet shared what that is. 

Try To Understand The Issue 

Countless contributors can impact an individual’s mental health. It could be bullying from peers at school, worries about school workloads, loss of a friend or family member and low self-esteem. Alternatively, it could be a combination of various factors. Understandably, you will not fully understand what they are going through. Try to put yourself in their position and see how these issues could be affecting them. It will help you provide support and advice to your child to help them improve their mental health. 

The Bottom Line 

It can be disheartening for any parent to know that their child struggles with their mental health. Not being able to help them as quickly as you can with a grazed knee is challenging. The best support you can provide is to be by their side, give them support and create a welcoming space where they feel comfortable talking about their feelings. 

Consistently remind them that they are not alone. Remember that you are not alone in the process. There are other parents who are likely going through similar experiences as you. You can find local or online support groups where other parents seek support and guidance to help their children’s mental health. 

Keep an eye for any changes in their behavior. If they are struggling, you might notice a combination of some of these changes happening. If you see a difference, act on them as soon as possible and help them get the support they need. 

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