How to Determine If Your Child Needs a Mental Health Professiona


Children naturally experience a range of emotions as they learn to cope and manage their feelings, so it’s normal for them to have ups and downs or periods of moodiness. However, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional if your child:

  • Shows sudden changes in their usual interests and habits.
  • Has significant problems with sleeping, eating, or other daily activities.
  • Exhibits excessive worry or sadness.
  • Regresses in behavior (such as bedwetting, clinginess, baby talk, or sudden refusal to speak for a period of time, separation anxiety, excessive tantrums).
  • Avoids interacting or playing with other children.
  • Engages in destructive behaviors like hitting, cutting, banging their head against objects, or causing self-inflicted pain (e.g., digging nails into their skin).
  • Expresses desires for self-harm or says things like “Nobody cares if I run away,” “I wish I weren’t here,” or “I wish I were dead.”
  • Talks explicitly about suicide.
  • Complains of physical pain or illness (e.g., stomachache or headache) that has been ruled out by a doctor as having a medical cause.
  • Has experienced a traumatic event, whether caused by nature or another person.

If you’re unsure whether your child needs professional help, consult with a therapist for more specific guidance.