Mental health is just as important as physical health to a child's well-being.

Mental health is just as important as physical health to a child's well-being.

Does My Child Need Help

It is sometimes difficult to know if and when your child needs professional help. Probably the most important guideline is that if you are concerned as a parent or caregiver, the best place to start is with your child. Parents and caregivers usually know their children better than anyone else. You know if your child is displaying an unusual emotional state or behavior. If you are concerned, don’t worry alone and seek help.

If your child is old enough, you can talk to them about how they are feeling or ask if there is anything new going on in their life. You should take note of unusual circumstances your child might be experiencing at home, in school or in their community. Exposure to external events that are traumatic or stressful can cause changes in your child’s behavior. Some issues can emerge with time as your child gets older or in some cases, are evident very early on in life. Sometimes parents become concerned because their child is acting very differently from other siblings. Although every child is different, we do have some ranges of behavior and functioning that we consider to be “normal” for a specific developmental phase of life.

It is also helpful to observe when and under what circumstances your child is experiencing difficulties. This will better help you understand their concerns and provide you with valuable information if you decide to seek help.

A good question to ask yourself is, “Are my child’s difficulties interfering with his or her ability to function normally in every day life?” In other words, is your child having difficulty at home, in school, with friends or within the family? Are your child’s difficulties affecting their ability to eat or sleep? Are they having a hard time in situations where they used to be okay? Are these problems significant enough that are causing your child or other family members distress? If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, it might be a good idea to seek help from a qualified professional.

Publication On Child Trauma

CHDI (with funding from its parent organization, the Children’s Fund of Connecticut) partnered with The Connecticut Mirror to print and distribute their “Starting Early: The Long Reach of Childhood Trauma” series. The series was written by Arielle Levin Becker from The Connecticut Mirror. Click here to view the series online.

Click here to download the series in a pdf format. If you would like printed copies, please contact Cindy Langer (langer@uchc.edu).