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Signs of Mental Health Concerns

Here are some signs you can look for if you think your child or teen may have a mental health concern:

  • They’ve expressed feeling unusually stressed or worried, (in younger children this can mean new fears and worries)
  • Their thoughts and behaviours seem very negative (sad, worried, self-critical)
  • They’re not enjoying or wanting to be a part of things that they would normally enjoy
  • They’re not sleeping as well as usual, or sleeping more than usual
  • They’re not eating as much as usual, or eating more than usual
  • They seem easily irritated or angry with friends and family
  • There’s been a change in their grades at school – they’re not doing as well as they should be or used to be
  • As teens, they’re involved in risky behaviour that they would usually avoid, like taking drugs or drinking too much alcohol
  • They’re crying for no apparent reason
  • They’re having trouble concentrating or remembering things

Concerns with mental health can happen to anyone, at any age, and are the result of a number of factors:

  • Genetic factors, such as a family history of mental health problems
  • Trauma, such as abuse, neglect or a significant loss or death
  • Individual factors, such as self-esteem and coping skills
  • Current stressors, such as excessive stress at school, work or in relationships
  • Serious illness or physical injury
  • Drug and/or alcohol use and experimentation

The more common mental health concerns experienced by young people are anxiety (worrying too often) and depression (feeling sad and tired too often). Other mental health concerns may include:

  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Self-harming behaviours
  • Addictions
  • Attention deficit disorders

To learn about what are the signs and facts of these various concerns, see Health Hacks in the Youth section of this website.

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