Children can have mental health disorders that interfere with the way they think, feel, and act. Some behavior problems can be seen as normal child development. And some require professional help. Children's mental health is as important as their physical health. Great care should be taken to help a child who has a mental health problem. Mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders can affect your child's future.
How do I know if my child's problems are serious? Problems deserve attention when they are severe, lasting, and affect daily activities.
Seek help if your child:
• Is often sad, worried or fearful
• Has striking changes in appetite or sleep needs
• Is spending most of his or her time alone instead of with friends or family
• Has decreasing grades or interest in school
• Is hyperactive, impulsive, or has trouble concentrating
• Is self-destructive or overly aggressive toward others
Your child’s pediatrician, or primary care provider (PCP), can help by screening your child for mental health issues.
The Pediatric Psychiatry Collaborative Program (PPC)
In Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Monmouth and Ocean counties, your child's pediatrician can get additional information about treating children's mental health problems through the Pediatric Psychiatry Collaborative Program (PPC). He or she may make a referral to the PPC for your child and you will be contacted by a PPC care coordinator.
The PPC care coordinator will gather additional information from you concerning your child and can recommend, and help you schedule appointments with, mental health providers in your community. The PPC also has a staff psychiatrist as part of the program that will evaluate your child, if recommended.