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Signs and Symptoms of Children’s Mental Health Issues

The way a child thinks, feels and behaves may be a sign that he or she needs help with a mental health problem.  It can sometimes be difficult to decide if a child is acting “appropriately” for his or her age or if the child does, in fact, have a mental health need.

Although many children and youth will show some of the following characteristics and behaviours at various times during normal childhood development, it is the degree and frequency to which these characteristics affect their day-to-day living.

This list serves as a guide and is by no means complete.


Signs & Symptoms

getting poorer marks in school, suspension/expulsion many physical complaints (headaches,
stomach aches)
persistent nightmares severe worry and anxiety
avoiding friends and family stop caring about appearance
outbursts of anger and rage obsession with weight
hyperactivity or low energy lost energy and motivation
loss of appetite hitting or bullying other children
difficulty sleeping trying to injure self
rebelling against authority mood swings
abusing alcohol or drugs personality change
stop doing things used to enjoy threatening to run away
damaging others’ property


Links or Useful Resources for SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:
Children’s Mental Health Ontario
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry -
kidsLINK (a program of Carizon Family and Community Services) via Front Door –        - or 519-748-2932
Parents For Children’s Mental Health - or call 519-749-8740 Ext.212 and leave a message.