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Mental Health Problems

Types of Serious Mental Health Problems

  • Suicide thoughts, threats or attempts
  • Homicide thoughts or threats
  • Child abuse
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Anxiety attacks or panic attacks
  • Depression

Types of Non-Serious Behavior Problems

Many childhood behavior problems are common and not serious. Your child's doctor can often manage them. Pediatricians are often the first point of contact for these problems. Examples are:

  • Temper tantrums
  • Sleep problems
  • Toilet training problems
  • Eating problems
  • Developmental delays

Behavior Scale: How to Judge Severity

  • Mild Symptoms: Symptoms do not keep the child from any normal activities. School, play, relationships and sleep are not changed. Treatment: parenting groups or books.
  • Moderate Symptoms: Symptoms keep the child from doing some normal activities. New behaviors mainly occur at home. They affect how the child and parent interact. They may also keep him or her from going to child care or school. Your child may not sleep well because of these symptoms. Treatment: Most often, brief counseling from a mental health provider or your child's doctor.
  • Severe Symptoms: Symptoms keep the child from doing most normal activities. They affect the way the child acts with parents. Symptoms also impact relations with siblings and friends. Adults at child care or school may also be impacted by the child's actions. Treatment: These patients often need to be seen urgently by a mental health provider.

Is this your child's symptom?

  • Mental health problems that often need urgent help
  • Examples are anxiety attacks, depression, substance (drug) abuse and acting out
  • Resources include hotlines, mental health experts and your child's doctor