Caring for our child’s well-being also includes caring for their mental health. We can seek a mental health counselor’s help for this. They can make sure that our kids are doing well emotionally and mentally. But when do we need these experts’ assistance? How can you assess whether your child has to visit a mental health counselor? Here are some reasons and signs that might indicate this.
Performs Poorly At School And Has Trouble Concentrating
If your children struggle at school, you might think that hiring a tutor for them or having them participate in more after-school activities will help. While these solutions might sometimes work, failing classes is also a reason for your child to visit a mental health counselor. Do you want to know why?
Much like us, our children also go through emotional ups and downs. Some of them manage them quite well and can focus on their daily activities despite these. However, for other children, it becomes hard to juggle their emotional problems and their academics. This is why they end up with bad marks at school.
A mental health counselor will help children understand what they’re going through. They will also walk our children through working with negative thoughts and emotions. They will be taught how to deal with their stressors and negative emotions in a healthy way.
Consider seeking a mental health counselor for your child if s/he recently experienced any of the following:
- a recent stressful event in their life like losing a family member or divorce
- a recent significant change in life like moving homes or getting a new sibling
- or currently dealing with a severe illness
Shows Repetitive, Self-Destructive Behavior
If you notice your child frequently hitting themselves or pulling their hair out, seek help. These are unhealthy coping mechanisms that they develop to deal with extreme emotions like sadness and stress. The latter may also be signs of depression or anxiety disorders. A mental health counselor might be able to explain why your child is behaving this way.
A mental health counselor will help your child get a better perspective of themselves. They will teach your kids to express and deal with their emotions without doing self-destructive behaviors. These experts will also be able to tell you when further help is needed. If your child exhibits signs of severe mental or emotional health issues, they will be referred to a child psychiatrist for proper diagnosis.
You might be scared by your child’s self-harming tendencies. Some experts suggest that these actions are often maladaptive coping tools because they don’t know better. They are a band-aid solution to our kids’ emotional distress.
Exhibits Sudden Changes In Eating Or Sleeping Habits
A healthy child needs enough sleep and food to function well every day. It means snoozing for at least eight hours and having a nutritious diet. Their daily activities affect how well they get these two necessities.
If you notice that your kid suddenly sleeps less or has trouble falling asleep, seek immediate help. Child insomnia is a highly prevalent issue that affects 27% of children in the U.S. This doesn’t only affect your child’s physical health but also their mental well-being. Lack of sleep may lead to:
- daytime drowsiness
- difficulty concentrating
- memory impairments
A mental health counselor will help your child dig deeper within themselves to find out why they’re having trouble sleeping. These experts may also give some tips to help our kids fall asleep at night. As parents, we can also help by providing sleeping schedules that the whole family follows.
Likewise, a sudden change in eating habits is also a reason to visit a mental health counselor. This behavior may be a symptom of emotional distress or eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. Our children must get immediate professional help before these eating problems take a toll on their growth and mental development.
Experiences Persistent Feelings Of Fear, Hopelessness, And Sadness
It is normal to feel sad. Sometimes, our children must go through it because it contributes to emotional growth. However, if you notice that your kid has constantly felt sad, afraid, or hopeless, seek help.
Child depression is a severe mood disorder that makes our children feel irritable and hopeless most of the time. It also impacts their relationships, sleeping and eating habits, and other daily activities. It is sometimes difficult to notice in children because they are typically prone to mood swings. You should always be observant of their behavior towards their usual activities. If they stop enjoying them and exhibit sadness for more than two weeks, a mental health counselor is necessary.
Mental health counselors will not diagnose your child’s condition because only psychiatrists can do that. However, they can help your kid process their emotions and understand why they feel the way they do. These professionals will also teach them some healthy coping mechanisms for their feelings.
Fear may also be a symptom of childhood anxiety. This is a debilitating disorder that affects children between ages 3 and 17. But in a child’s case, it comes with irrational anger and extreme irritability. You may have to learn more about its symptoms because, like depression, anxiety disorders severely impact your child’s daily life.
Expresses Morbid Thoughts
If your child often expresses morbid thoughts or frequently talks about dying, bring your kid to a mental health counselor. These are often calling for help and must not be taken lightly. Mental health counselors will find the cause of these thoughts to help your children process these negative thoughts and behaviors. The goal is to prevent them from taking action. If necessary, these professionals will connect your kid with child psychiatrists for further diagnosis and treatment.
The rule of thumb is never to ignore these offhand statements. Also, try not to get mad at your child for expressing these thoughts. They say them to you because they trust you. Although they don’t say so directly, they want you to find help for them.
As parents, we are dealing with a lot of things to keep our children healthy. Thankfully, we are not alone in these goals. So, when you notice these signs in your kids, don’t hesitate to seek help.