• children and their mental health

    Mental health in children is development of social emotional competence and self-regulation in the context of home, school, and community.

  • 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:

    • Externalizing behaviors: outbursts, tantrums, verbal and physical aggression, defiance, etc. 
    • Internalizing behaviors: withdrawal, isolation, anxiety, mood change, sadness (depression) and crying, complaint of various pains, eating and/or sleeping problems, etc.

    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.


    US Department of Education estimates 82% of preschoolers suspended more than once are boys.

  • who is at risk for mental health issues?

    • Children who live in poverty are more likely to experience mental health issues due to adverse conditions, dangerous communities, and daily stressors.
    • Children with developmental disabilities are more likely to be poor and be the subject of maltreatment and thus are at risk for additional mental health issues.

  • Signs of mental health issues in children

    There are many disorders that are associated with mental health issues in children. Some include ADHD, challenging behaviors or conduct disorders, anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorders, and bipolar disorder. These are some other signs that might indicate a child is having mental health issues.

    Withdrawal or isolation from peers

    Verbal and/or physical aggression

    Complaints of stomach and/or other pains

    Sadness and crying

    Frequent tantrums

    Feelings of anxiety

    Trouble learning

    Frequent anger bouts

    Defiance of adults

    Constantly "on the move" or unable to be still

    Extreme energy (low or high)

    Disinterest in playing and/or childhood pursuits

  • 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.

    Genetic Makeup

    Ongoing Stress

    Crises or Adverse Events

    Parenting Issues

    Trauma or Traumatic Events

    Child Maltreatment (Abuse/Neglect)

    Developmental Disorders