Signs your child might be struggling with a mental health issue

Behavioral Health

Each Friday in February in the NBC4 News at 5, we’re talking to experts from Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This week, we’re talking to Stacy Benton, director of nursing at the new Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion.

Prevalence of mental illness among youth:

  • 1 in 5 teens in the U.S. has had a mental health disorder that caused severe impairment in their ability to function.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth ages 10 – 19 years.
  • The rate of youth suicide has increased by 58 percent in the past decade.
  • Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability in adolescents.

Signs my child may be struggling with mental health and need therapy:

If you are in an emergency, life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1 or go to an emergency department.
  • Anger outbursts, crying more easily
  • School performance, like a sudden drop in grades, or trouble concentrating
  • Thinking negatively about themselves
  • Withdrawing from friends
  • Losing interest in things they used to love
  • More obvious signs:
    • Use of drugs and alcohol
    • Talk of suicide

What should parents do?

  • Talk with your child about mental health. If we are open about it, they will generally follow. 
  • Stay informed. The On Our Sleeves website has a lot of information for caregivers on various mental health topics. 
  • The more you know as a parent or caregiver, the better support you can offer your child.


If someone you care about is in an emergency, life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1 or go to an emergency department. For crisis situations that are not life-threatening, please call your county’s psychiatric crisis line number. In Franklin County, call (614) 722-1800 for youth and adolescents 17 and under. Ages 18 and older should call (614) 276-2273. If someone you care about is having thoughts of suicide or needs to talk, encourage them to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you prefer to text, you can text “START” to 741-741 where a live, trained specialist will respond back to you.

CLICK HERE for more on the signs your child might need therapy.

This content, in partnership with NBC4, is sponsored by Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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