May is Mental Health Month. Statistics show that more than 50 percent of lifetime cases of mental illness start at about age 14.
Particularly when talking about preadolescence, it's hard to tell the difference between typical moodiness and something that needs a little more help.
"Some of the warning signs would be mood swings, lack of interest and certain behaviors, any kind of increase or decrease in sleeping, eating or energy and then any kind of discussion or thoughts on suicide or self-harming behaviors," Shukri Muwwakkil, Program Manager with the Mental Health Center of Denver, said. "It's definitely good for a parent ot have a good relationship with their kids."
Experts advise to always err on the side of caution when talking about potential mental illness. But having that conversation with your kid is hard. So what's a key to doing that?
"You have to feel comfortable and be the parent to speak with your kid," Muwwakkil said. "You're not their friends, you're there to support them."
If a parent thinks they need to talk to their children, they should go to a family doctor for help, or the Colorado Crisis Services is another great resource. Just call 844-493-TALK.