The holidays can be a very somber time for children and adolescents. Warning signs exist that many parents tend to ignore in their child/adolescent. The CNN article on VA Senator Creigh Deeds’ son provides another example of a missed opportunity to help someone dealing with mental health issues.
Overall, parents should take action when the following signs are noticed:
- Anger (Increased)
- Depression (sadness, isolation, lack of interest in things, decline in normal functioning like school work, etc.)
- Weight/physical changes (increases or decreases in weight)
- Changes in sleep patterns (increased or decreased desire for sleep)
- Substance Use (initial use and/or increased use)
- Suicidal thoughts
Seek assistance from a mental health counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist if you recognize any of these symptoms in your child or loved one. Obtaining help from a mental health professional is essential to provide the psychological and/or psychotropic treatment that is best for your family member. Tragedy is not always the outcome when mental illness is present. Mental illness can be managed with proper treatment and support.