11.2% of Centre County students self-reported engaging in self-harming behaviors


50% of cases of mental health issues begin by age 14; 75% begin by age 24.


29.3% of students reported feeling depressed or sad most days in the past 12 months. (grades 6 - 12)

Distinguishing the difference between typical adolescent behavior and when it might be something more can be difficult. While these items below may be part of typical development, if you notice them lasting more than a few weeks or affecting the way in which your child lives, laughs, loves and plays, it’s important to talk with your child and/or seek professional help.

Mental Health Warning Signs for Children Younger than 11

  • Sadness a lot of the time
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Ongoing worry or fear
  • Problems fitting in at school
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Sleep problems, including nightmares
  • Thoughts of death, dying or suicide

Mental Health Warning Signs for Children 11 Years and Older

  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Having trouble coping with every day activities
  • Sudden changes in behavior or moods
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Complaining of physical pain
  • Being aggressive
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities
  • Thoughts of death, dying or suicide

Professionals who can Help

  • Primary care physicians
  • Pediatricians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Psychiatrists

Every child is one adult away from being a success story. As an adult, you have the ability to make a positive lifelong impact on a young person. If you are worried about a young person in your life, get involved. Let them know you are there for them and that they matter.

Parents and family members play a vital role in promoting mental health and wellness in young people and letting them know that they are supported. If you become concerned about your child’s mental wellness and/or safety, it is important to reach out and intervene. Having a courageous conversation, although sometimes difficult, can show support and concern.

Having a Courageous Conversation

  • Use “I” statements. These statements are a great way to let someone know you care about them and that you’re concerned without seeming judgmental.
  • Listen. It’s important to let your child speak freely and openly. Ask open-ended questions.
  • Leave plenty of time. You don’t want to rush any important conversation – it may be a quick or it may not be. Either way, you want to make sure there is adequate time.
  • Choose an appropriate time and place. Find a private place where both you and your child will be comfortable to engage in a courageous conversation. Try to avoid times when your child is dealing with stressful things.
  • Reinforce your love. Offer support, understanding, encouragement, and acceptance.
  • Don’t try to solve their problems. Let your child guide the conversation and take ownership of their well-being. Work with them to think of ways to help them through the difficult times.
  • Reach out to professional help. There are many trained professionals who can offer advice and who can help you and your loved one during a time of need. Reach out to a Primary Care Physician, Counselor, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, etc. for additional support.
  • Cultivate your own support system. Helping a loved one navigate through the process of help-seeking can be difficult on you and other family members. Find people you can reach out to, debrief with. Be sure to make self-care a priority.

Website Resources for Parents