Behavioral Health Problems: Does my Child Need Professional Help?
You’re starting to notice that things have been a little “off” with your child lately: sleeping and eating habits have changed. Suddenly, he or she isn't hanging out with the same group of friends.
Susan LaVelle Ficke PysD, a clinical psychologist for TriHealth’s School-Based Behavioral Health Services, says if the changes – whatever they may be – are prolonged, you may need to seek help. Similarly, “obviously suicidal statements are another red flag,” she adds.
What Happens if I Delay Getting Help for my Child?
“It’s really hard to predict, because the course and prognosis can be really individual things … but in the worst case scenario, for some, it can lead to failing out of school, significant mental health problems, like depression or anxiety, legal problems, or suicidal or homicidal behavior,” Susan explains.
The severity of your child’s potential future mental health problems depends on several factors, including his or her:
- Risk factors
- Support system
- Coping skills
Susan says having coping skills can be particularly helpful for your child's mental health issues. “It’s really an individual thing, but I think journaling and meditation are higher up there in terms of having a positive effect,” she explains. Other healthy coping skills include:
The Bottom Line: Play it Safe
If you have any reservations at all, go with your gut. “I would definitely err on the side of caution in getting some assistance,” Susan stresses.
Last Updated: February 06, 2014