Accessibility tools

Mental and emotional health

Good emotional and mental health is important in helping to strengthen your child’s capacity for relationships, improve educational attainment, promote social inclusion, expand opportunities and improve general health and wellbeing. 

Conversely, emotional and mental ill health is a serious problem among children and adolescents and if left untreated during these years there is evidence that it can become an enduring life-long condition with associated life-limiting effects.

It is known that children need healthy, supportive and stimulating environments with a clear focus on, and commitment to helping them develop high self-esteem and good relationships. With such support, they are more likely to become confident, happy and ambitious people.

Keeping a record can also help you identify the times when you need extra support. You could think about possible changes to your routine.

There may be times when you’re so tired and angry you feel like you can’t take any more. This happens to a lot of parents, so don’t be ashamed to ask for help.

The Bromley Mental Health and Wellbeing Toolkit, developed by the London Borough of Bromley for education settings to provide a 'one-stop-shop' for mental health and wellbeing resources, includes a section for parents: Useful resources for parents.

Anger or aggressive behaviour in your child that appears out of control could be a sign of an underlying condition.

Mental Health disorders in children, or developmental disorders that are addressed by mental health professionals may include the following:

  • Anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders in children are persistent fears, worries or anxiety that disrupt their ability to participate in play, school or typical age-appropriate social situations. Diagnoses include social anxiety, generalized anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Compared with most children of the same age, children with ADHD have difficulty with attention, impulsive behaviour, hyperactivity or some combination of these problems.
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological condition that appears in early childhood, usually before age 3. Although the severity of ASD varies, a child with this disorder has difficulty communicating and interacting with others.
  • Eating disorders. Eating disorders are defined as a preoccupation with an ideal body type, disordered thinking about weight and weight loss, and unsafe eating and dieting habits. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder, can result in emotional and social dysfunction and life-threatening physical complications.
  • Depression and other mood disorders. Depression is persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest that disrupt a child's ability to function in school and interact with others. Bipolar disorder results in extreme mood swings between depression and extreme emotional or behavioural highs that may be unguarded, risky or unsafe.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is prolonged emotional distress, anxiety, distressing memories, nightmares and disruptive behaviors in response to violence, abuse, injury or other traumatic events.
  • Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disorder in perceptions and thoughts that cause a person to lose touch with reality (psychosis). Most often appearing in the late teens through the 20s, schizophrenia results in hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking and behaviour.