In older children and pre-adolescents:
Inability to cope with problems and daily activities
Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
Excessive complaints of physical ailments
Defiance of authority, truancy, theft, and/or vandalism
Intense fear of weight gain
Decline in academic or athletic performance
Disinterest or refusal to participate in activities they previously enjoyed
Inability to cry or excessive crying
Prolonged negative mood, often accompanied by poor appetite or thoughts of death
Frequent outbursts of anger
If you feel you may be suffering from a mental illness, I urge you in the strongest terms to seek the advice of an experienced mental health professional - a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Psychiatrist vs. Psychologists
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental illness. They have M.D. degrees and are licensed to prescribe medicine. Psychologists hold graduate degrees and practice "talk therapy".
Mental health facilities provide services to help you or your loved one cope with the difficulties of mental illness. Facilities offer three types of help:
To find the right mental health facility for your needs, first determine which program you want. Inpatient programs are contained within a hospital and require a multi-day stay. Outpatient services do not involve an overnight stay, but they can require multiple visits over an extended period of time. Finally, residential programs are extended overnight options that are located outside of a hospital, unlike the inpatient option.
Once you have determined the proper services you require, consider the location to find a facility that is accessible for your friends and family. Any additional preferences, such as dietary concerns or accommodations needs, should also be addressed before making a final decision. To ensure you will feel comfortable, do not make this decision until you have visited the facility.
For local resources, refer to Mental Health America to find locations and service close to you.