Health and fitness aren’t just about the body – they encompass the mind, too.
Yet, mental health issues often aren’t as visible as their physical counterparts. That’s true in people of all ages, but perhaps more so in children and teenagers.
Issues that might be seen as “growing pains” or normal parts of development in children and teens will play out as “bumps in the road,” with the child getting “back on track,” at the end of it, Murray-Hall said. “With a more serious problem, you are likely to see lingering problems which don’t tend to get better.”
Among the issues to watch for, she said, are declines in school performance, nightmares, persistent anxiety or depressed mood, constant worry, tantrums, behavior which seems out of character and isolating from family and friends, to name a few.
In younger children, a caregiver is more likely to see such things as behavior problems, bedwetting, tantrums or disobedience.
“The most common issues I address in my practice involve depression and anxiety disorders,” said Murray-Hall, who maintains an office on Snyder Road in Hermitage.
“Red flags would include: noticing your child is often alone, going to her room, losing interest in things that once provided pleasure, or sleeping excessively – which may indicate avoidance,” she said. “You also want to be attentive to excessive worries, trouble sleeping, or rituals such as seeking repeated reassurances; repetitive behaviors such as tapping, motor tics, checking, washing; or a preoccupation with danger, germs, death or other catastrophic events.”
With all that may be happening in the family, “It’s easy for parents to feel confused, frustrated, overwhelmed, and even angry,” Murray-Hall said.
This article first appeared on ‘Sharon Herald’ on 29 July 2014.