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Child/Adolescent Psychology

Mental health issues affect ALL ages of the population.  The World Health Organisation states that around 10 – 20% of children and adolescents experience mental health disorders.  Some researchers argue that these statistics might actually be higher.

In children and teens we see Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Separation Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Specific Phobias (eg. spiders, dogs, etc.), OCD, Behavioural Issues, Depression, PTSD and many others.  These can occur in conjunction with other conditions (eg. Autism, Giftedness, ADHD, etc.).  Depression is one of the more common conditions in our youth, and it tends to increase during adolescence.  Adolescents with mental health problems report high rates of suicidal ideation (thoughts) and self-medication (eg. drug use, drinking, etc.).

Depressed children might experience some of the following:

  • Persistent sad or irritable mood
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Significant change in appetite or body weight
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • More fidgety or less fidgety than usual
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Anxious children might experience some of the following:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty getting to sleep, or may wake during the night
  • Nightmares
  • Not eating properly
  • Easily irritated or angry (quickly out of control at these times)
  • Constant worries and negative thoughts
  • Tense, fidgety, agitated
  • Needs to use the toilet often
  • Crying
  • Clingy
  • Complains of stomachaches, headaches or feeling unwell
  • School refusal

If you are worried about your child, please talk to your GP who will refer you to see a clinical psychologist (or generalist psychologist) in your area.

For those who live in a rural or remote area, your child may be eligible for Telehealth sessions with a clinical psychologist anywhere in Australia.  Research is showing that this format of therapy is either as successful or even more successful for treatment of many mental health conditions.  And the children/teens love showing their clinical psychologist around their room and showing their favourite things!