Watch for Warning Signs

Tips and Resources

Many people will adapt to changes forced on them by the pandemic; others will struggle. Explore below to find ways to address anxiety and signs that indicate that you may need to seek help for yourself or a loved one.

Tips

General

  1. Check in with yourself and your loved ones often. Watch for warning signs of a mental health crisis
  2. Maintain open and frequent communication with loved ones
  3. Pay attention to major changes in mood, sleep, or appetite, and offer support or seek support if you notice this in yourself or a loved one
  4. Increased use of tobacco or alcohol may be a warning sign for worsening mental health
  5. Those with existing mental health conditions may react more strongly to a crisis
  6. Be mindful of those suffering job losses or other changes in employment
  7. Remember that there are many free resources offering effective mental health support available to you
  8. Do not hesitate to ask for help if you are worried about yourself or a loved one
  9. If you or someone you love is in crisis, get help. Call 9-1-1 if you or somebody you love is in danger
  10. If a loved one is struggling, talk with them about suicide. Discussing suicide does not make people more suicidal

For Teens

  1. Make space for conversation and check in frequently, even if your teen appears to be doing well
  2. Warning signs include changes in sleeping or eating habits, withdrawal from peers, difficulties in school, mood swings, talking about committing suicide, or giving away possessions
  3. Remove weapons from your home. If you see warning signs, lock up pills and be aware of the locations of knives, ropes, and other things that can be used as a means for suicide
  4. Call 911, a crisis line, or take your child to the emergency department if you believe that your teen may be planning suicide
  5. Talk with your teen about suicide

For Kids

  1. Behavioral changes and outbursts may indicate that your child is struggling to cope
  2. Kids are more likely than adults to experience physical manifestations of emotional difficulties, such as headaches and abdominal pain
  3. Watch for increased anxiety around separation. Talk about it if this is something you are seeing
  4. Make sure your kids know they can come to you when they’re having a hard time

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Frequently Asked Questions: Watching for Warning Signs

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Q.

Who can I talk to about my child’s mental health issues?

A.

Pediatricians and your family doctor are well-equipped to handle mental health questions and crises. They will also be able to refer you to reliable sources should you and your family need additional care.

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