When and how to seek help for your child?
Below we describe what signs to look for, and how you might go about seeking extra support for child.
Signs your child may be anxious
- Seeking frequent reassurance (asking repetitive questions).
- Avoiding situations or objects they are afraid of.
- Becoming upset or crying easily.
- Complaining of stomach-aches or headaches.
- Clinging to you or reluctant to leave the house or leave your side.
Signs your child may be depressed
- They have low energy.
- They have lost interest in activities and things they usually enjoy.
- They make negative comments.
- They become upset, irritable or easily annoyed.
- Their appetite or sleep patterns have changed.
Signs your child may benefit from extra mental health support
Your child’s worries or sadness/irritability are starting to impact their family life, schooling or friendships.
- Your child’s anxiety or low mood is stopping them from doing things they enjoy.
- Your child’s distress seems to be out of proportion to the situation.
- Your child’s anxiety or low mood persists for longer than expected.
- Your child has been sad or irritable most of the day for two weeks.
What should you do? Where should you go to find support?
- COVID-19 specific health services.
- General practitioner (GP).
- School counsellor.
- Online treatment programs.
- Psychologists and other mental health professionals.
For more information about where to seek help see the tip sheet below.
Navigating the mental health system
Be aware that the first therapist you see may not be the best fit for your child. Persist until you find someone both you and child feel comfortable with.
It is also important to speak to your therapist about the type of treatment approach they will be using and the evidence for this approach. For example, for anxiety problems, we know that exposure therapy is a key component of treatment, so it is critical to see a therapist who has experience in delivering exposure therapy.
In the video below, Dr Ella Oar from the Centre for Emotional Health and Department of Psychology at Macquarie University talks to parents and carers about how to know whether your child is coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and when to seek help.
Watch the video or download the tip sheet.
Content owner: Centre for Emotional Health Last updated: 14 May 2020 2:07pm