For the most part, children who are not mentally
ill never exhibit these signs. If you notice any of these signs in your child,
the first step is to talk with your family physician about what you have
observed. Your physician will probably suggest you have your child evaluated by
a children’s mental health specialist. Follow whatever recommendations you
Think about these questions. They highlight
common signs of mental illness. As you consider each question, ask yourself if
your child ever exhibits the sign. If not, go to the next question. If he
sometimes has the problem, put a check mark beside the question and then go to
the next question. Step through the questions until you have thought about each
Have extreme mood swings? (His mood jumps
from one extreme to the other and he cannot control it.)
Vomit after eating or use laxatives to
control his weight?
Go on extreme eating binges? (May or may
not be unusually overweight.)
Distrust everyone and think people are
out to get him?
Have very strange thoughts and feelings
he cannot understand or control?
Have extreme fears keeping him from doing
things most people the same age do easily?
Get extremely uncomfortable if someone
gets close or touches him?
Urinate or defecate in his clothes? (This
applies to children over eight or nine-years-old and does not include wetting
Cut or hurt himself on purpose?
Have an unusual interest in fire,
watching fires, setting fires, and doing things with fire?
Hear voices and see things others do not
hear and cannot see?