Worried about your child's mental health?

If you think your child is troubled about something or may have a mental health issue, the most important thing to remember is not to panic.

Every child is unique and there is no formula or one set of symptoms, but if you're concerned, it's always worth seeking professional help. 

Young children may not always have the words to express what's bothering them. Here are some common behaviours and signs you can look out for, which may indicate that further support might be needed for your child:

  • Sudden or extreme changes in behaviour, such as becoming very withdrawn and uncommunicative, or alternatively lashing out and becoming boisterous or even violent
  • Expressing negative thoughts, or a particularly low opinion of themselves, for example that they're a 'bad' child
  • Provoking or lashing out at other children
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Strong desire to avoid school or stay with you at all times
  • Complaining of aches and pains


Of course, there could be some other perfectly reasonable explanation why your child might be showing one or more of the above signs, which has nothing to do with their mental health.

Ask yourself whether the behaviour is out of character for your child, and consider whether there is anything obvious that might have upset them, for example, divorce, bereavement, friendship problems or illness.

If you're worried, you can talk to your child. Try to find a way of bringing up the conversation without putting pressure on them, perhaps during a car journey or, for younger children, when you're playing with them. This can help them to open up naturally (see more advice).

If you're still concerned, the best thing you can do is talk to someone - your GP can recommend local organisations who can offer support.

You can also get immediate support and advice by phone or email from the organisations on our useful contacts page. 

Find out more


A parent's story

After leaving her abusive husband, Marcia was finding it hard to cope. She was offered counselling sessions with Place2Be at her daughter's school

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