The first step to becoming an advocate for a child who is struggling or who may be struggling with a mental illness is to become educated about the topic. On Our Sleeves provides resources from the experts at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to learn more about a variety of mental health conditions and other concerns.
How Do We Define a Mental Illness?
Mental illness falls under the umbrella of “behavioral health.”
Behavioral health is the study and treatment of mental illness, disorders of brain development and behaviors that affect emotional, psychological and physical wellness.
For example, behavioral health disorders might include psychiatric disorders and mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder and intellectual development disorders; substance abuse and addiction; suicidal thoughts and behaviors; and reactions to trauma, stress or physical illness.
Click any one of the mental health conditions below to learn more.
Addiction refers to a wide range of compulsive behaviors. Traditionally, addiction refers to the excessive use of substances, including alcohol; prescription and illegal drugs; cigarettes; and food. Today addiction has a wider meaning for children and adolescents.
An adjustment disorder is an unhealthy emotional or behavioral reaction to a stressful event or change in a person’s life. The response happens within 3 months of the stressful event.
Anorexia nervosa is one type of eating disorder in which a person severely limits the amount of food he or she eats to prevent weight gain or lose weight.
Anxiety disorders affect one out of every eight children. Untreated, young people with anxiety disorders are at a higher risk to struggle in school and in their relationships with adults and peers.
ADHD stands for of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Young people with ADHD have a tendency to act without thinking. They tend to have a high energy level, and have trouble focusing on the task before them.
The term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a complex neurodevelopmental disorder. It hinders a child’s ability to communicate and interact socially with others, sometimes severely. It also impacts the way the child thinks and behaves.
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depression, is a chronic mental illness that causes extreme mood swings from high to low and vice versa.
Bulimia nervosa is one type of eating disorder in which a person regularly eats excessive amounts of food (binge eats) and then attempts to eliminate (purge) the consequences of overeating by vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics, fasting or exercising excessively.
Depression is a common and serious form of a childhood mental disorder. It is more severe than normal sadness. It can interfere with a child's energy, concentration, sleep and appetite.
Disruptive, impulse control and conduct disorders involve problems with controlling emotions and behaviors, which results in behaviors that violate the rights of others.
Disruptive behavior disorders (DBD) can seriously impact a child’s daily life. Children with disruptive behavior disorders show ongoing patterns of uncooperative and defiant behavior.
A learning disorder is when a child has trouble learning in certain school subjects. The problem is bad enough to interfere with school or everyday activities.
Motor disorders are a subcategory of neurodevelopmental disorders that begin early in development. These behaviors can have physical and social consequences.
A personality disorder is an enduring pattern of thinking, feeling and behaving that is different from expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning and lasts over time.