New Resource: What Families Can Do When a Child May Have a Mental Illness

In response to the tragic Sandy Hook elementary school shootings in Newtown, CT, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has prepared a new fact sheet on early warning signs and treatment for mental illness in children. Click here for the full fact sheet with links to additional information.

The fact sheet is also available on our Health Care & Health Policy page.

One in 10 children lives with a serious mental or emotional disorder. Yet less than one-third of adults and one-half of children with a diagnosed disorder receive mental health care. “What Families Can Do” is a list of warning signs every parent should know.  Parents should be aware and consult with the child’s pediatrician if any of these symptoms are present over a period of time, as opposed to a one time situation:

  • Acting withdrawn, sad or overly anxious.
  • Extreme difficulty interacting with friends and/or sibling.
  • Substantial mood swings.
  • Persistent drop in school performance.
  • Change in sleeping and/or eating patterns.
  • Increased or persistent use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Persistent aggressive behavior.
  • Threats to self or others.
  • Hallucinations, paranoia or delusion.
  • Other sudden or extreme change.

If a mental health problem is suspected:

  • Talk with a pediatrician.
  • Get a referral to a mental health specialist.
  • Work with the school.
  • Connect with other families who have or are experiencing similar challenges.

If you have any questions, contact NAMI Ohio via phone or email.


Phone: 614-224-2700 / 800-686-2646