Your child's mental health

If you are worried about the behaviour of your child, or if your child appears to be unusually distressed, you might need to do some probing to get to the heart of the problem.

Your child's mental health

Children face many pressures in modern society. Most do fine but some find it difficult to cope or do not get the support they need to feel safe, happy and confident. If your child is feeling distressed or troubled, they may express their unhappiness in a number of ways:

  • unable to concentrate
  • behaving out of character - irritable, sad, depressed, loss of interest/enjoyment
  • not sleeping, having nightmares, wetting the bed
  • becoming disruptive in class
  • getting fussy about food, or cleanliness, or developing eating problems
  • trying to harm themselves
  • having trouble making friends, or finding relationships at home difficult
  • becoming fearful and resentful
  • getting into fights and becoming aggressive
  • increasing alcohol/drug use

Equally, your instincts may tell you there is something wrong.

If you are worried about your child, you could:

  • talk to your doctor or health visitor - they may refer you to special services for children, young people and families
  • talk to your child's school - the school may be able to help sort out problems, provide extra support and make allowances for your child
  • contact social services to find out what support is available for your family

Supporting organisations

  • ChildLine on 0800 1111 - offers help to young people in trouble or danger
  • Samaritans 0845 790 9090
  • Lifeline 0808 808 8000
  • Young Minds on 0800 018 2138 - a parents' information service providing confidential advice for any adult concerned about the mental health or emotional well-being of a child or young person
  • Family Lives Parentline on 0808 800 2222 - provides help and information for anyone caring for children

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