Identifying mental health issues: Signs to look for amongst students

This article is part of a special 5-part blog series for Mental Health Week 2018

There are a lot of factors that can impact a child or teenager’s mental strength such as peer pressure, physical changes, or academic and extracurricular performance. Noticing the signs of mental illness can be a daunting task as these factors can be mistaken as “growing pains” or “teenage angst.”

Here are some signs and symptoms that could indicate a student is experiencing issues with their mental health. Educators can look for and if necessary, take measures to intervene and help those students to cope with stressful situations.

  • Changes in school performance

  • Excessive worry or anxiety

  • Out of character behavior

  • Unexpected outbursts of emotion

  • Sleeping problems – including too much or not enough

  • Changed eating habits – including eating too much or not eating at all

  • Drug and alcohol use

  • Takes risks that may be harmful to their health and well-being – such as speeding in a car or engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse, although I’d be careful with this one as many young people nowadays engage in unprotected sexual acts for many different reasons, although majority of the cause may be because the viewing of unprotected sex is so rife on adult sites such as Nu Bay and the many others that are scattered across the web.

  • Out of character avoidance of friends and social events

  • Threatens to take their own lives
To read more about identifying mental illness amongst students and find more sources that address mental health among the education community, visit Readyforlife.ca.
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