My teenager is acting differently. Could it be the beginning of mental illness?
We would urge you to consult the Kids, Teens and Young Adults page on NAMI’s website where you will find essential information and resources intended to help young people get the mental health support they need.
You might also consider contacting your local NAMI Affiliate to sign up for a free NAMI Basics course, a 6-session education program for parents, guardians or other allies of age 22 or younger youth affected by mental health issues about the impact of mental illness on families, types of care, and community services. If you prefer a self-paced, virtual program, register for a free NAMI Basics OnDemand course.
We would also urge you to look into NAMI Ending the Silence Presentation, a 1-hour presentation for adults with middle- or high school-aged youth that helps audience members learn about the warning signs of mental health conditions and what steps to take if you or a loved one are showing symptoms of a mental health condition. If you would like to host a NAMI Ending the Silence presentation at your school, contact your local NAMI Affiliate. If the presentation isn’t available in your community, NAMI Ending the Silence is also available as an online version, offered exclusively via online video, accessible anytime through the Ending the Silence website.
Other resources include:
- The Balanced Mind Parent Network is a program of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance that guides families raising children under age 26 with mood disorders to answers and support through an online support community. You can reach them by calling (800) 826-3632.
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry provides information and resources for families and youth; maintains online library of mental health condition-specific “resource centers” of information for disorders affecting children and youth. Also provides a child and adolescent psychiatrist finder.
- Child Mind Institute offers information about children’s mental health issues for parents and educators, including a symptom checker for a wide range of disorders.
- InsureKidsNow.gov is a website operated by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), providing information about Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance program) for families seeking health insurance coverage for children and teens, families needing help locating a dentist. They can be reached at (877) 543-7669.
- Parent to Parent is a national organization that provides parent-to-parent support as a core resource for families with children who have a special health care need, disability, or mental health concern. Through a one-to-one “match,” experienced support parents provide emotional support to families and assist them in finding information and resources. Website offers a Parent-to-Parent program by State finder.
- NIMH Website Section on Children and Mental Health is a section of the NIMH website that provides comprehensive information regarding when to seek help, first steps for parents, treatment options, education issues, etc. and a resource section with links to organizations that focus on mental health issues in children.
- KidsHealth is a division of the Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media, provides physician-reviewed information and advice on children’s health and parenting issues, including diseases, nutrition, recipes, and feelings.
- Teen Help is a website offers resources and information on specific topics related to mental health and general teen development and growth — site information is geared towards teens and it includes a for parents section.
- Talk. They Hear You is an app from SAMHSA that provides parents and caregivers of children and teens ages 9 to 15 with the tools and information they need to start talking with their children early about the dangers of alcohol and other substance use. It includes a suite of materials that provides parents and caregivers information and resources they need to address these issues with their children early and often. Available for free on Apple and Android.