While mental illnesses are not always immediately identifiable, treating and accommodating for a child’s mental health is just as important as doing so for their physical health.

Children’s Mental Health Matters! is a Maryland public awareness campaign that highlights the importance of children’s mental health. The campaign features more than a week of events, workshops, media, outreach, and other awareness-raising activities during Mental Health Month.

Children's Mental Health Matters! A drawing with a yellow background depicts a net reaching for a butterfly beneath the words "Your Struggle is part of your story!"

May is Mental Health Month, with Children’s Mental Health Week falling the week of May 6-12. Schools and organizations in Maryland are encouraged to participate in the Children’s Mental Health Matters! campaign as school or community champions. Learn more and register here:

Info for School Champions | Info for Community Champions

Signs of Mental Illness

While signs and symptoms will vary, the Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD) has identified the following general symptoms of mental illness:

  • Does poorly in school
  • Gets into fights constantly
  • Worries all the time
  • Maintains patterns of repetitive activity, and these actions interfere with school attendance, sleep, or appetite
  • Frequently worries about death
  • Never seems to laugh or smile
  • Has trouble making friends because of aggressive or frightening behavior
  • Can’t stay with one activity as long as other children
  • Doesn’t seem to listen to instructions
  • Acts without thinking
  • Uses drugs or alcohol
  • Displays behavior that should have been outgrown, like clinging, wetting, or soiling
  • Displays sexual behavior that is more than normal curiosity
  • Repeatedly plays with fire
  • Is cruel to animals
  • Hears voices or sees things that aren’t there

If you notice a child or teenager exhibiting these signs and symptoms, this guide from MHAMD provides advice on taking the first steps toward seeking help.

Share what you’re doing to observe Mental Health Month with Maryland Learning Links on Facebook, Twitter, or by emailing stories@marylandlearninglinks.org.