For the most part, children who are not mentally ill never exhibit these signs. If you notice any of these signs in your child, the first step is to talk with your family physician about what you have observed. Your physician will probably suggest you have your child evaluated by a children’s mental health specialist. Follow whatever recommendations you receive.
Think about these questions. They highlight common signs of mental illness. As you consider each question, ask yourself if your child ever exhibits the sign. If not, go to the next question. If he sometimes has the problem, put a check mark beside the question and then go to the next question. Step through the questions until you have thought about each question.
Does your child
Have extreme mood swings? (His mood jumps from one extreme to the other and he cannot control it.)
Vomit after eating or use laxatives to control his weight?
Go on extreme eating binges? (May or may not be unusually overweight.)
Distrust everyone and think people are out to get him?
Have very strange thoughts and feelings he cannot understand or control?
Have extreme fears keeping him from doing things most people the same age do easily?
Get extremely uncomfortable if someone gets close or touches him?
Urinate or defecate in his clothes? (This applies to children over eight or nine-years-old and does not include wetting the bed.)
Cut or hurt himself on purpose?
Have an unusual interest in fire, watching fires, setting fires, and doing things with fire?
Hear voices and see things others do not hear and cannot see?