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Recognising the Signs: How Parents Can Identify Mental Health Problems in Their Children

Parenting comes with many challenges, and one of the most significant is ensuring the mental well-being of your child. In today's fast-paced world, children face a multitude of stressors and challenges that can impact their mental health. As parents, it's crucial to be vigilant and observant, as early recognition of potential mental health issues is key to providing the support and care that your child may need. In this blog, we'll explore the signs that parents should look out for in their children regarding mental health problems.

  1. Noticeable Changes in Behaviour: Pay close attention to any significant shifts in your child's behaviour. This can include sudden withdrawal from social activities, a decrease in academic performance, or frequent mood swings. Behavioural changes are often a clear indicator that something may be affecting your child's mental well-being.

  2. Increased Anxiety or Depression: Keep an eye out for signs of anxiety or depression. These may manifest as persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness, excessive worry, or an inability to enjoy previously cherished activities. Children may also become more irritable, angry or exhibit signs of restlessness.

  3. Sleep Disturbances: Changes in sleep patterns can be a sign of mental health issues. If your child experiences insomnia, nightmares, or excessive sleeping, it could be an indication of emotional distress.

  4. Changes in Eating Habits: Be aware of significant changes in your child's eating habits. This could include sudden weight loss or gain, disinterest in food, or a preoccupation with body image. These changes may indicate the presence of an eating disorder or other emotional difficulties.

  5. Isolation and Social Withdrawal: If your child begins to isolate themselves from friends and family, it might be a sign of emotional distress. Keep an eye out for decreased social interactions and reluctance to participate in activities they once enjoyed.

  6. Decline in Academic Performance: A noticeable drop in academic performance can be a red flag. If your child's grades suddenly decline, it could be linked to concentration difficulties, anxiety, or other mental health issues.

  7. Unexplained Physical Complaints: Sometimes, children experiencing emotional distress may manifest physical symptoms like headaches or stomach-aches without any apparent medical cause. This can be a way for them to express their emotional pain. It is advisable to seek medical advice first to rule out any medical cause,

Conclusion: Recognising signs of mental health problems in your child is the first step toward providing them with the support and professional help they may need. Keep in mind that not all children will exhibit the same signs, and some may be more subtle than others. You know your child the best and when something just doesn't feel right, listen to your gut.


Open communication, a nurturing environment, and seeking assistance from mental health professionals when necessary are essential to promoting your child's emotional well-being.


Remember that it's always better to seek medical advice sooner rather than later, especially when dealing with potential health concerns. Early intervention can often prevent conditions from worsening.


Seeking help for mental health is just as important as seeking help for physical health. Remember, you're not alone in this journey, and there is help available to guide you and your child towards a healthier, happier future.


Get in touch if you want to find out more about how CBT can improve mental health therapy@ketts.com

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