Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is mental health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It impacts how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

 What are the symptoms of mental illness?
Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and having low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
  • Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don't exist in objective reality)
  • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality
  • Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
  • An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance (mostly in adolescents)

What does mental health look like in young children?
Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:

  • Changes in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxiety
    Hyperactive behavior
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

How common is mental illness?
Millions of Americans are affected by mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults in America experience mental illness each year, and 1 in 5 children currently have, or will develop a serious mental illness.

How do I know if my child might be having difficulty in school due to mental health related issues?
As a parent, you usually know your child better than anyone else. There are a variety of indicators that might suggest your child is having difficulties at school. Some things to look for include:

  • Suddenly complaining of illness when it is time to go to school or avoiding school
  • Sudden changes in school performance
  • Increase in disciplinary issues at school
  • Difficulty concentrating at school and at home
  • Sudden changes in mood
  • Complaining about physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, fatigue, or chest tightness
  • Problems getting along with peers
  • Stressful situations at home such as marital or family problems, substance abuse, changes in living status, or domestic violence
  • History of exposure to traumatic events
  • Family history of mental health problems or concerns

These are just some of the potential warning signs that your child may be having difficulties at school related to mental health concerns. As your child’s caregiver, it is important to look for any significant changes and pay attention to possible warning signs. 

What do I do if I have concerns about my child’s mental health?
If you have concerns about your child’s mental health, contact your child’s teacher, school counselor, school administrator or district mental health coordinator. Pelham City Schools is committed to making sure that your child is successful academically, socially, and emotionally.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.