Mental health issues in childhood is more common than was previously thought. Having mental health issues does not mean that the child has a diagnosable mental illness; rather, that the child needs support in order to have a healthy social emotional development.
In early childhood, mental health issues manifest themselves in the form of challenging behaviors. Children with challenging behaviors usually exhibit two types of behaviors:
Both types of behaviors are serious and often signal a strong likelihood for serious mental health issues later in life, if not addressed early on. A challenging behavior usually signals that the child needs social-emotional support in order to be able to function successfully in school, in the community, and at home.
schools and children with mental health issues
Young children with mental health issues, particularly those who exhibit externalizing challenging behaviors, have been the target of suspension and expulsion from schools, as early as in preschool.
Preschoolers with challenging behaviors are expelled from schools at three times the rate of children in Kindergarten through 12th grade
US Department of Education estimates 48% of all preschoolers suspended more than once are African-American boys.
Causes of mental health issues in children
Mental health issues and challenging behaviors may have different and multiple causes. Often different factors work together in combination with one another.
Crises or Adverse Events
Trauma or Traumatic Events
Child Maltreatment (Abuse/Neglect)
what are the risks?
Children with both kinds of challenging behaviors (externalizing and internalizing) are at risk for:
Academic failure, often leading to school drop outs
Relationship problems with adults and peers
Problems with authorities and authority figures
Further physical and mental health issues in adulthood