Home » Detecting Mental Health Challenges in Children

As responsible adults, we bear the duty of nurturing our children in various aspects — physically, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Guiding them toward a successful adulthood involves meeting their needs and addressing some of their desires, constituting a significant undertaking that every parent understands.

Even before a child is born, we delve into resources on childcare, covering both physical and mental health. However, the wealth of advice available can sometimes be contradictory or perplexing, especially when it comes to mental well-being. While we are vigilant about physical symptoms of illness in our children, the terrain of their mental health is more intricate.

When faced with alterations in our children’s behavior, distinguishing between normal age-related development and potential mental health concerns becomes challenging. Is a particular mood or behavior indicative of a disorder, or is it a reflection of delayed emotional development? Could fatigue, hunger, or anxiety about a test be the cause, or does it point to a learning disorder?

It’s crucial to recognize that sporadic instances of troublesome behavior are insufficient for a mental health diagnosis. Children undergo phases, and true concern arises when unusual behavior persists for about six weeks. When navigating this, consulting the child’s teacher and physician to rule out physical or school-related factors is prudent before seeking the opinion of a mental health professional.

In the event of a mental health diagnosis, verification is paramount. The accompanying infographic, “Mental Health Misdiagnoses in Children,” sheds light on common misdiagnoses and provides alternative possibilities. Behavior that appears linked to a specific illness might stem from non-medical causes, or the child could be grappling with a different mental disorder.

As advocates for children’s health, it falls upon us adults to ensure an accurate diagnosis before commencing any treatment. Whether the recommended approach involves talk therapy or medication, an incorrect diagnosis can pose risks such as adverse physical side effects, confusion, and, most significantly, a delay in administering the appropriate treatment.

For further insights on this critical subject, read on.

autism behavior therapy

Infographic provided by MySpectrum, autism behavior therapy professionals

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