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

  • 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
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