It can be tricky to know whether your child is experiencing moods and emotions typical of their age group, or if something more serious may be emerging. Many adolescents find themselves asking the same questions; wondering whether seeing a professional could help them to feel better.
The point at which help is sought varies between individuals. A common red flag is notable changes in the person's mood or behaviour. This may include increases in the frequency or intensity of:
Feeling sad, being negative, or overall low mood
Seeming worried or nervous about many things
Being irritable and angry
Withdrawing from family and friends
Spending more time alone
Having less motivation for school work, or sudden difficulty with the work
Trying to avoid attending school
Less interest in activities which they used to enjoy
Becoming easily overwhelmed by everyday situations
Sleeping more or less than previously, or trouble getting to sleep
Complaining often about physical symptoms (such as headaches or stomach-aches).
Eating more or less than previously, or other notable changes to their diet
For younger children, concerns may arise if you notice:
A loss of skills that they previously had used often (a Paediatrician should also be seen)
Sudden increase in emotional outbursts
A lack of interest in playing and engaging with peers or adults
If you, or someone you know, is hurting themselves, expressing a want to die or not be here, is hearing or seeing things which no one else can (hallucinations), or has strong irrational/strange ideas (delusions), it is important to seek immediate clinical assessment.
Please contact Psychiatric Triage 24/7 on: - Under 15 years old: Call 1800 445 511
- 15 years and over: Call 1800 888 320
For more information, the following websites contain helpful information: