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Health Tip: Mental Illness Warning Signs

(HealthDay News) -- Determining if a child's troubling behavior is "part of growing up" or a sign of a mental health problem can be difficult.

Parents should contact a mental health professional if symptoms last weeks or more and interfere with the child's daily life, says the National Institute of Mental Health.

Warning signs of a mental illness may include:

  • Minimal interest in things that the person once enjoyed.

  • Low energy.

  • Too much or too little sleep.

  • Self-harming behaviors.

  • Smoking, drinking or drug use.

  • Excessive exercise or diet.

  • Thoughts of suicide.

  • Risky or destructive behavior.

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