Signs a Child May Need Professional Help

  • Any of these signs may be present initially in grief, so please pay attention if these persist over time. If you are concerned about your child, please call a representative from the Student Support Team to talk if s/he is also seeing the same signs. Try not to over state your case. Most parents and school staff welcome the honest observations and concerns. It is helpful to have a list of local resources should parents wish to seek professional help.

    hide Physical signs

    • Change in eating (less or more)
    • Changes in sleep (less or more)
    • Significant loss of energy
    • Nausea
    • Headaches
    • Stomach aches
    • Emotional signs

    Persistent anxiety

    • Hopes of reunion with deceased
    • Desire to die
    • Clinging to others
    • Absence of all grief
    • Strong resistance to forming new attachments
    • Expression of only negative or only positive about the deceased

    Behavioral signs

    • Aggression, displays of power
    • Withdrawn regression
    • Overachieving syndrome
    • Inability to focus or concentrate
    • Self-destructive
    • Excessive daydreaming
    • Compulsive care-giving
    • Accident-prone
    • Stealing or other illegal activities
    • Use or abuse of drugs or alcohol or both
    • Unable to speak of the deceased

    Cognitive signs

    • Inability to concentrate
    • Confused or distorted thinking

    Any signs of long-term or clinical depression are red flags, as are your own "gut feelings" about whether a child is really struggling with more than just the profound sadness that is "normal" grief.