The signs of possible mental illness listed in the earlier ages and stages sections are still a concern, but the symptoms or behaviors may be more pronounced as children get older. Look for:
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Comments or writings that suggest a desire to harm oneself or others
- Constantly threatening to run away or running away
- Risky or destructive behavior, such as damaging property or setting fires
Once you seek help, your child will be evaluated. The Child Behavior Checklist, which contains more than 100 questions related to child behavior, may be used — or the kids’ psychology expert you choose may refer to the DSM-IV with strict medical guidelines for diagnosing mental illnesses.
Your participation in both the evaluation and the treatment of your child is essential. Medication, therapy, behavior change, modifications in the school setting, and other tools may be needed to help you and your child, depending on the diagnosis.