Children’s Mental Health Assessment

Psychological testing is the first step in mental health treatment.

Psychological testing is the first step in mental health treatment.

If you saw our previous post about Children’s Mental Health Overview, then you were most likely alarmed by the statistics about the state of mental health and children.  Given the lack of information, awareness, and the prevalence of stereotypes surrounding the topic, we’d like to continue to offer our platform to educate parents and their children, along with doctors, physicians, teachers, and other youth workers regarding children’s mental illness.

Growing Pains vs. Mental Health

One of the hardest things to distinguish is the typical “growing pains” of teenage angst versus a mental health concern.  It’s easy to look at a list of potential indicators for mental illness such as moodiness, irritability, impulse control, sleeping too much, spacing out, emotional outbursts, lack of focus and concentration, forgetfulness, inability to focus on a task that seems boring, anxiety, and so on and just say, “well that’s just children these days.”  That doesn’t justify the typical teenage angst but we hope it raises the question, “how do you tell the difference?”

As with adults, mental health for children is determined by the duration of said behaviors, the degree to which it impacts their functioning, and how it affects their relationships and immediate community.  Still feels a little grey doesn’t it?  Here are some things to watch out for when looking for potential signs that your child may need treatment for a mental illness:

Signs & Symptoms Of Mental Illness

  • Withdrawn or “very sad” for two weeks or longer
  • Serious attempts at self-harm or suicide ideation
  • Sudden onsets of overwhelming fear, racing heart beat, or quickened respiratory rate without any reason
  • Involvement in numerous fights or wanting to commit acts of aggression
  • Acts of aggression that are out of control and either have or have the potential to hurt themselves or others.
  • Signs of eating disorders such as not eating, using laxatives, throwing up, binging
  • Anxiety that prohibits normal daily activities and functioning
  • Severe mood swings that result in damaged relationships
  • Lack of established sleep pattern
  • Persistent moodiness versus consistent normal functioning 
  • Extreme difficulty concentrating and focusing which results in academic failure

Difficulty Staying Organized or Thinking Ahead

Is it OK to settle for these symptoms and behaviors and just learn how to manage and cope?  Is it OK to lower our expectations of our children while we shoulder the burden quietly and alone?  While there are a shortage of trained, qualified mental health professionals who are ready to help, that doesn’t mean that you should give up.  If you are willing to trust us, we are willing to give our 100% to you on a daily basis.

Just because your child may be experiencing mental illness or need some form of psychological support doesn’t necessarily mean that they need medication or counseling.  Neither does it mean that there’s something wrong with your child or that you’re a bad parent.  We don’t believe any of that is true.

There is no cookie cutter solution and there isn’t a quick fix.  We want to partner with you for the long haul, put you in the driver’s seat, and make sure that your child’s mental health support is appropriate for your needs so that they can be successful and productive in life.

If there’s an expert out there who’s more accommodating and gets better, long-lasting results, we’re all about doing what’s best for your child.  We believe that we have a winning team and we want you on it so that you and your child can achieve a healthy, happy, and wholesome lifestyle for years to come.  We’re ready, we’re standing by, and we care about you and your child.  If you’d like more information about our services, or would like to schedule a mental health screening and assessment, please give us a call today.