When is it Time to Talk?

As parents, we never want to consider that our child may have a mental illness. We will consistently tell ourselves, “Not my kid,” even turning a blind eye to potential warning signs that there is something wrong. In 2015, there were around 74 million people under 18 living in the United States. On average, 16.5% of that population will have a mental health disorder. That’s nearly 12 million young people. Even worse is that some mental illnesses start early. The median age of onset for anxiety disorders alone is 6 year’s old!

So now comes the important question: When is it time to talk?

It's time to talk to your child/teen about their mental health when...

  • You’ve noticed something just doesn't seem right, but aren't sure why.

  • Your child/teen is starting to have difficulties at home, school or with friends.

  • You've noticed some of the signs and symptoms below for more than a week:

    • Feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or worthless

    • Sensitivity to sound, sight, smell, or touch

    • Feeling overly worried; suspicious or fearful

    • Unable to do school work

    • Feeling like brain is playing tricks and hearing knocking or scratching sounds, or name being called

    • Loss of interest in things previously enjoyed, or withdrawal from others

    • Irritability or restlessness

    • Problems with concentration, memory or thinking

    • Having sudden personality changes that are bizarre or out of character

    • Loss of appetite or overeating 

If you’re still not sure whether you should talk to your child/teen, take the parent screen at mhascreening.org 

You should seek assistance immediately if you become aware that your child/teen is...

  • Having thoughts or making plans of killing or hurting them self or another person. If your child is showing signs of suicidal or self-injurious thoughts, seek immediate assistance. If you are not present or able to get them right away, ask them calmly to promise you that they will not act on those thoughts until you are with them or can get them help.  It is a well-known phenomenon that most people will honor these “promise contracts” for a defined period of time.

  • Hearing voices or seeing things that no one else can hear or see

  • Experiencing unexplainable changes in thinking, speech, or writing

If your child/teen is in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), go to your local Emergency Room or call 911.

Mental Health America of Porter County (MHAPC) is your community resource for advocacy, education and support and resource services.  For more information call us at: 462-6267 or visit our website at: www.mentalhealthpc.org.

Call us:

1(219) 462-6267

Email us:


Find us: 

402 E. Indiana Avenue, Valparaiso, IN 46383

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