How do you identify mental illness in children?

It really comes down to monitoring whether the behavior in question is a phase or something deeper and longer lasting. A phase is something temporary. A deeper issue could be a mental illness. The key sign is whether it dissipates over time. 

If a child is not overcoming a “phase” then parents should work with teachers and other people in the child’s life to validate assumptions. If there is a recurrence of behavior that suggest a mental illness, a physician or therapist should be consulted to determine the proper course of action.

Half of all mental illness starts around age 14, and dismissing questionable behavior as a “phase” can lead to more complex challenges later in life. 

If you feel your child may be suffering from a mental health issue, contact your provider as soon as possible. 

Learn about behavioral health services at Swedish.