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Child Mental Health

Summary

It's important to recognize and treat mental illnesses in children early on. Once mental illness develops, it becomes a regular part of your child's behavior. This makes it more difficult to treat.

But it's not always easy to know when your child has a serious problem. Everyday stresses can cause changes in your child's behavior. For example, getting a new brother or sister or going to a new school may cause a child to temporarily act out. Warning signs that it might be a more serious problem include

  • Problems in more than one setting (at school, at home, with peers)
  • Changes in appetite or sleep
  • Social withdrawal or fear of things he or she did not used to be not afraid of
  • Returning to behaviors more common in younger children, such as bedwetting
  • Signs of being upset, such as sadness or tearfulness
  • Signs of self-destructive behavior, such as head-banging or suddenly getting hurt often
  • Repeated thoughts of death

To diagnose mental health problems, the doctor or mental health specialist looks at your child's signs and symptoms, medical history, and family history. Treatments include medicines and talk therapy.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • (American Psychological Association)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Center for Parent Information and Resources)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute of Mental Health) Also in

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) Also in

Treatments and Therapies

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (American Psychological Association)

Related Issues

  • (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in
  • (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) Also in
  • (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute of Mental Health) Also in
  • (HSC Foundation) - PDF
  • (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in
  • (Mental Health America)

Specifics

  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute of Mental Health) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
  • (Nemours Foundation)
  • (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
  • (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • (National Child Traumatic Stress Network) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Statistics and Research

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • (National Center for Health Statistics)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health
  • (American Psychological Association)

Children

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) - PDF

Girls

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Patient Handouts

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