Your Child’s Mental Health: What to Know

Know that you are not alone if your child is struggling with a mental health condition, or you suspect he or she might be.

About 17% of children and adolescents experience some form of mental health condition each year, and half of all lifetime mental illness develops by age 14. 

Mental health conditions stem from a complex mixture of lifestyle, environment, genetics, and life experiences. Mental health conditions are not the parent’s or a child’s fault. However, you and your family can take action to prevent or improve mental health conditions as soon as they arise. 

All children and adolescents need to know that the world is better because they’re in it.

  If their interactions at home, school, or on social media don’t support that fact, something needs to change. Anxiety, depression, stress, fear, trauma, and hopelessness can affect the lives of people of all ages. If you feel that you or your child is suffering from a mental health issue your doctors at Cornerstone want to know about it so we can help.  

Prevention of serious mental illness and suicide starts with early intervention.

Don’t hesitate to talk to your child about mental health. It won’t make the situation worse. It shows you care.

  • Check-in with your child often and ask how he/she feels about what’s going on in his or her life.
  • Simply having family meals together at least 3 to 4 times a week is an important measure to improve child and adolescent mental health.
  • You don’t need to have all the answers. Sometimes just sitting and listening to your child is what he or she needs.
  • Asking about suicidal thoughts and plans does not make someone more likely to consider it.
  • Be prepared to take action if your child has warning signs of mental illness. Don’t wait.


Warning signs that your child may have a mental health condition that needs medical attention include:

  • Persistent sadness lasting two weeks or more
  • Drastic changes in behavior, mood, or personality
  • Withdrawing from social interactions that he/she usually enjoys
  • Hurting oneself or talking about hurting oneself
  • Talking about death or suicide
  • Extreme irritability or emotional outbursts
  • Out-of-control behavior that can be harmful
  • Aggressive or impulsive behavior
  • Persistent changes in eating habits
  • Recent weight loss or gain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Frequent headaches or stomachaches
  • Changes in school performance
  • Avoiding or missing school
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • A recent devastating loss, change, or disappointment
  • Giving away loved possessions
  • Hopelessness
  • Decreased concern about the future or not looking forward to anything

    If you’re concerned about your child, contact your Cornerstone doctor at 919 460-0993 or find a mental health provider here. Call or text 988 for a mental health crisis.

    Cornerstone doctors can confidentially help identify the issues that need to be treated and coordinate care for therapy or psychiatric treatment if necessary. Our doctors are well-versed in the treatment of routine childhood and adolescent mental health issues and can prescribe medication for adolescent depression and anxiety when indicated. If you or your child is suffering, please ask to speak to your doctor today. We can only help if we know what you’re going through.

    Confidential free, effective help is available to anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress, suicidal thoughts, or facing a substance abuse crisis call or text 988. For more information about mental health crisis intervention click here. For medical emergencies still use 911.