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More Than a Phase: How to Help If Your Child Has a Mental Health Disorder

young man of age six to eight sitting on a bean bag, looking quizzically at his therapist - child mental health

Your Child and Mental Health

“It’s just a phase.”

The phrase “It’s just a phase” must rank particularly high on the list of parental diagnoses of their children’s behavior. If you have children, the odds are pretty good that you’ve said it. If you were a child (and you were, weren’t you?), the odds are pretty good it was said about you. And if your memory of your own childhood is a little hazy and you have no kids of your own, the odds are still pretty good that you have heard it said about some child or another.

It’s a comforting idea because it suggests whatever behavior your child is currently exhibiting—from biting to swearing to door-slamming to missing curfew—is going to pass eventually.

But not everything a young person goes through is “just a phase.” Sometimes children are struggling with a mental health disorder. And when that is the case, it is important to get them the help they need.

Signs of Mental Health Disorders in Children

What sorts of symptoms or behaviors might indicate that your child is struggling with a mental health issue? By and large, the symptoms resemble those you would expect in adults.

For example, among children in grade school, symptoms of a mental health disorder may include:

  • Ongoing sadness and/or excessive worrying or fearfulness
  • Heightened hyperactivity
  • Loss of appetite, sudden weight changes, and/or marked worry about gaining weight
  • Noticeable changes in sleep habits
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities or friends
  • Significant decrease in school success
  • Audio or visual hallucinations
  • Substance use

When you first notice your child struggling in one or more of these ways, it will no doubt be tempting to write it off as a phase they are going through. After all, no one wants to think that their child is having mental health problems.

That said, it may be helpful to think of these symptoms the same way you might think of a rash on your child’s skin. The rash might be a symptom of something quite minor and easily taken care of. Or it might be a sign of something far more serious. Or possibly something in between those two extremes.

In any event, if you spotted a rash, you would likely take your child to see a medical professional. And that’s the right move if you spot a potential symptom of a mental health disorder.

How Peak View Behavioral Health Can Help Your Child

At Peak View Behavioral Health, we offer mental health services for children as young as 7 years old. We offer outpatient services for those likely to benefit from them—including those who have graduated from our inpatient program.

The impatient program includes an in-depth assessment that is used to develop a personalized treatment plan. Children receiving inpatient care will have a plan that includes medication management, a therapeutic living environment, and a smooth transition to less intensive levels of care when the time is right.

Our team is led by a highly trained psychiatrist and is made up of master’s-level therapists, nurses, and mental health technicians, all of whom are devoted to providing evidence-based, compassionate care for young people who are struggling.

We Won’t Leave You Out

The idea of having your child receive inpatient mental health care may well be scary. That feeling is perfectly understandable. But you can rest assured that we are as committed to you as we are to your child.

Our family education program is a key part of that commitment. Mental health issues affect the entire family—not just the young person who is currently struggling—and we are committed to providing the resources and knowledge you need to ensure you can support your child’s ongoing wellness.

Don’t Wait to Get Your Child the Help They Need

We understand that the knee-jerk reaction to a child’s unusual or unsettling behavior is to chalk it up to a phase. And sometimes, that is exactly what it is. But if a mental health disorder is at the center of the problem, waiting for the “phase” to end is not a workable strategy.

Instead, your best move is to get high quality mental health care for your child—and the team at Peak View Behavioral Health is ready and able to provide that care.

peak view behavioral health - colorado springs, colorado mental health and addiction treatment centerAre you or someone you love looking for Pueblo, Colorado co-occurring disorder treatment? For more information about Peak View Behavioral Health, or if you have questions, please call us at 719-694-0220 or use our contact form.

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