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.
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:
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.