Normal Actions or a Mental Health Concern? | Ce qui est normal comme comportement chez les jeunes?

[BOARD: Dr. Ian Manion – Executive Director, Provincial Centre of Excellence for Children and Youth Mental Health] Parents of adolescents often ask us how can
we really differentiate what’s normal or typical for an adolescent versus what might be the
signs of mental health concerns and this is a very common question. Particularly during adolescence where is so
much happening, so many changes that are taking place. I think again the first thing here
you are looking for is a significant change in mood, behaviour or thinking that’s affecting
one or more aspects of their life. So for example, it’s not having a bad test but all
marks start spiralling downwards. Physical appearance might take a significant change
and sleeping patterns change normally during adolescence, but if you’re adolescent is really
having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, staying awake throughout the day and again
for week on and week out this could be a sign of something more significant. We see in terms of behaviour towards others.
Probably the most significant one from a mood disorder side will be when they start pull
away from friends or pull away from activities that they previously enjoyed. In terms of the behavioural side of things,
some risk taking behaviour is normal, it’s typical for adolescents. Actually, it’s actually
the adolescent that shows no risk taking behaviour at all that might be a sign that someone who’s
over a little controlled. When the risk taking behaviour is not typical, is more frequent,
occupying more and more of the child’s or young person’s time – it might be placing
them or others at risk of self harm or harm to others. That’s really what we need to watch out that’s might be beyond typical of being an adolescent. Probably the biggest warning sign is when
friends start telling you that they are concerned about your son or daughter. They see your
son or daughter probably more often than you do these days. They might be in the best position
to notice a change in behaviour, mood and feelings and they may have some real concerns
about what might be going on. Similarly, they might be the best people to help bridge your
son or daughter to appropriate services. Even just to find out if they are okay. [BOARD: Ontario Logo.]

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