Child and Teen Mental Health

Children need good mental health in order to develop in a healthy way, build strong relationships, adapt to change and deal with life’s challenges. Unfortunately, 1 in 7 young Australians (aged between 4 and 17) are experiencing a mental health condition.

The teenage years in particular can be a risky period for mental health problems. On top of environment and genes, teenagers go through many changes and challenges in a short period of time.

Symptoms

It’s normal for children and teenagers to sometimes have low moods, poor motivation and trouble sleeping. These things aren’t always the signs of a mental health problem, but if you notice any of the following signs and the signs go on for more than a few weeks, it’s important to talk with your child. The next step is to get professional help.

For children younger than 12 years, mental health warning signs might include:

  • sadness a lot of the time
  • a drop in school performance
  • ongoing worries or fears
  • problems fitting in at school or getting along with other children
  • aggressive or consistently disobedient behaviour, or repeated temper tantrums
  • sleep problems, including nightmares.

For children 12 years and older, watch out for your child:

  • seeming down, feeling things are hopeless, being tearful or lacking motivation
  • having trouble coping with everyday activities
  • showing sudden changes in behaviour, often for no obvious reason
  • having trouble eating or sleeping
  • dropping in school performance, or suddenly refusing to go to school, TAFE or work
  • avoiding friends or social contact
  • saying she has physical pain – for example, headache, stomach ache or backache
  • being aggressive or antisocial – for example, missing school, getting into trouble with the police, fighting or stealing
  • being very anxious about weight or physical appearance, losing weight or failing to gain weight as she grows.
  • seeming down, feeling things are hopeless, being tearful or lacking motivation
Get professional help

Mental health problems are unlikely to get better on their own, so you need to get professional help as soon as possible. Poor mental health or unmanaged mental health problems can affect your child’s quality of life, physical health, schoolwork, relationships and development – social, physical, educational and vocational. If you think your child may need additional support, contact us at Your Psych Centre via phone, email or drop in to our office to arrange to meet with one of our trained psychologists for a confidential discussion.

No referral is needed to make an appointment. However, you can arrange for an appointment with your GP to discuss your mental health and the support which can be available through Medicare to access treatment services. If you are eligible for a Mental Health Care Plan, your GP can provide this to you to bring along to your session which will allow you to access a rebate through Medicare.

Your Psych Centre can provide tailored psychological treatment for a range of difficulties including:

  • Separation Anxiety
  • Generalised anxiety
  • Peer difficulties
  • Grief
  • Parental separation/divorce
  • Behaviour difficulties
  • School avoidance
  • Study/Exam Stress
  • Family conflict
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Learning difficulties
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depressed mood
  • Anger issues