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Warning Signs

If a youth has a constellation of risk factors, it is important to seek assistance for the young person and his or her family. If a family member or friend is concerned, discussing the issue with another family member, friend, spiritual counselor, family pediatrician, or primary doctor could be helpful. Signs and behaviors to look for include, among others:

  • Marked fall in school performance
  • Poor grades in school despite trying very hard
  • Severe worry or anxiety, as shown by regular refusal to go to school, go to sleep or take part in activities that are normal for the child's age
  • Frequent physical complaints
  • Marked changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
  • Extreme difficulties in concentrating that get in the way at school or at home
  • Sexual acting out
  • Depression shown by sustained, prolonged negative mood and attitude, often accompanied by poor appetite, difficulty sleeping or thoughts of death
  • Severe mood swings
  • Strong worries or anxieties that get in the way of daily life, such as at school or socializing
  • Repeated use of alcohol and/or drugs1

Learn more about promoting, preventing, and treating mental health issues.

1 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2011


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