Warning signs of Mental Illness in Children and Young Adults

by | Mar 22, 2017 | Education | 0 comments

As parents, carers , professionals and adults working with children and young people, we need to look out for the following signs and symptoms. This is important so that early intervention can take place. These signs and symptoms vary depending on the type of mental disorder but there are some general warning signs which I have listed below:

  • Change in behavior – Feeling sad most of the time, quiet and withdrawn from friends, families and things of interest. Gets bored easily and prefers to be alone most times. Regressive  and aggressive behavior, risk taking behavior and showing less concern for safety.
  • Emotional changes  Frequent tantrums and anger. Mood changes, hallucinations, paranoia and delusions.
  • Low concentration: this can lead to poor school attendance and low academic achievement


  • Sleeping problem – sleeping too much or too little with associated night mares and sleep walking
  • Changes in appetite – loss of appetite or eating disorder. Weight loss or gain
  • Health and Hygiene – Excessive complaints of physical illness such as headaches and stomach aches. Poor personal hygiene can also be present ( not wanting to have a bath , looking shabby and unkempt).
  • Use of substance – drug or alcohol dependence. 
  • Suicidal  thoughts: this requires urgent help and should not be left until it is too late.
  • Coping Difficulties: generally unable to cope with day to day life activities and challenges.

It is important to recognize these signs that may indicate a problem in a child. Sometimes, it is not just physical problems we need to look out for, but mental problems as well. If you suspect mental illness, seek treatment for the child as soon as possible if the situation requires it. I hope I have been able to shed light on mental health in children and how we can recognize and look out for common signs of mental illness. Hope you are having a great month so far and have a wonderful week with the children.
Love, Bose.