Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing in Children

About half of all mental health disorders are diagnosed by the time a person reaches the age of fourteen, and nearly twenty percent of children between the ages of thirteen and eighteen experience living with a mental health condition. Children, like adults, are susceptible to many different kinds of mental health conditions, including anxiety, ADHD, autism, mood disorders, depression, eating disorders, and even schizophrenia.

Different types of mental health conditions are typically diagnosed at different stages of childhood. For example, Autism and ADHD are usually diagnosed early in a child’s life, perhaps during preschool or early elementary years, while schizophrenia, anxiety, and eating disorders are more likely to develop in the late teenage years.

Although children may experience similar mental health conditions as adults, the symptoms may be different, making it critical that parents and guardians are familiar with the warning signs. Some warning signs include:

  • Mood changes that cause difficulties in relationships
  • Intense fear or sadness without reason or inability to cope with daily problems
  • Trouble concentrating in school or at home
  • Self-harm
  • Frequent physical pain such as stomachaches or headaches
  • Loss of appetite

If you suspect your child is suffering from a mental health condition, it is important that you seek help from a qualified medical professional. Doctors and mental health professionals are able to perform mental health evaluations that serve as a crucial first step on the path to treatment.

If your child is diagnosed with a mental health condition, treatment may include:

  • Medications to treat depression, anxiety, mood disorders, or psychosis
  • Psychotherapy or counseling, including individual and group
  • Creative therapies that utilize art or socialization


Jaime Venditti, State Coordinator, New York Health Works