How to spot mental illness in kids
Not so long ago kids who who were shy, anxious or just plain sad were given a pat on the back and encouraged to get over it. Well-meaning parents, teachers and other respected members of the community would provide emotional support when and where possible, but aside from that, most young folk were expected to muddle their way through difficult feelings on their own.
Thankfully we’re now better educated about mental health in general and more likely to reach out for professional help if we think our kids need it.
Indeed, The Second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing shows that 17 per cent of all Aussie children and adolescents (aged four to 17 years) sought help from a counsellor, psychologist or a mental health professional in the previous 12 months.
High school teacher Isabel Targent* understands only too well how stress can affect kids. She was deeply concerned last year when her usually-outgoing daughter Lucy, 16, became quiet and withdrawn. Isabel spoke to a counsellor at the school where she works and asked for a recommendation for a psychologist who worked with teens.