Mental illness is often established at an early age. 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14, yet 70% have not had sufficient interventions. The pandemic has introduced new and unexpected challenges to children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. The disruption from normal life could have triggered and exacerbated mental health concerns, so now we’re back to school, it’s important to know the signs of a mental health concern.

Common warning signs include:

  • Drastic changes in mood, behaviour or personality
  • Persistent sadness
  • Excessive fear, worrying or crying
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Self-harming
  • Talking about death or suicide
  • Out-of-control behaviour, outbursts
  • Extreme disobedience
  • Extreme aggression or irritability
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Loss of weight
  • Difficulty sleeping, feeling tired or persistent nightmares
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Changes in academic performance
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Persistent difficulty separating from a parent
  • Avoiding or skipping school

It’s easy to dismiss some of these behaviours as a normal part of childhood development or expect them to be ‘phases’. However, dismissing these persistent symptoms can prevent the child or young person from receiving help for a mental health problem and persist into long-term mental illness. Early intervention is key, so if you are concerned about their mental health and see any of these symptoms, it should be addressed by a mental health professional.

Mental health concerns can be difficult to spot in youth, but it’s imperative it gets seen to quickly. If you work in an educational setting with children of any age, or if you’re a parent seeking more confidence with this topic, Mental Health Awareness or Mental Health First Aid training is an excellent step to help you recognise, assess and assist a child or a young person and get the appropriate professional help. We provide a range of training to suit your needs. Get in touch today to discuss what courses we have on offer.