Sometimes it is difficult for a parent to separate what is normal behavior from signs that a child may be suffering with a mental health issue. As one mother told us, her family and friends referred to her rambunctious boy as “Dennis the Menace”. He was cute and loving, but he caused problems everywhere he went because of his behavior. Over time, it became clear his behavior “just wasn’t right,” as his mom says.

Signs can be even tougher to spot in pre-teens and teenagers, two difficult age periods during which new social pressures and other influences add “drama” to their lives, and with which youth must assimilate and cope with. Another mother who called with questions about her son wondered what is normal moody behavior for her 15-year-old, as opposed to clear signals of depression.

Here are some common symptoms that could indicate mental illness:

  • Problems with anger
  • Lack of impulse control
  • Oppositional behaviors
  • “Can’t be parented”
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Erratic or unpredictable behavior
  • Threatening Behavior
  • Violence
  • Inability to process information or ideas
  • Sudden changes in mood
  • Irritability
  • Abnormal sleeping patterns

Because mental health conditions impact the most complex organ in our body — our brain — there often isn’t some obvious sign that signals your child needs help. There is no parenting manual that spells it out.

For more information about the illnesses Trillium treats click here. If you have any other concerns, empower yourself! Call Trillium toll-free at 888-333-6177. We hear similar questions and concerns every day and help families navigate these sometimes uncertain waters.