EPIC Blog: Mental Health & Kids - 4KIDS
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EPIC Blog: Mental Health & Kids

July 2nd, 2020 l Author: Terri Galindo, LCSW, LMFT

When we think of health, we often only think of the physical health of our bodies. Mental health, however, is something that cannot afford to be overlooked— especially when it comes to our kids. We all know what to look for when aiming to have a healthy body, but what does it mean to be healthy mentally and emotionally? And how does this relate to spiritual health?

Here are some tell-tale signs that your child’s mental health is likely in a good place:

  • Developing appropriately for their emotional age
  • Attached to at least one parent and connected to others (i.e. siblings, relatives, friends, teachers)
  • Resilient – they can handle stresses, transitions, and can bounce back from problematic events
  • Makes good decisions
  • Has coping skills
  • Can play independently and spend quiet time alone
  • Has good sleep habits
  • Smiles
  • Eats normally
  • Has an assortment of activities and interests
  • Exercises and gets sun
  • Makes positive transitions moving from activity to activity


Now that we have established the positive signs, what are some observable indicators that would be cause for concern?

  • Are they fighting often with parents, siblings, at school?
  • Are they struggling with school work when they never have before?
  • Are they overeating or undereating?
  • Are they not sleeping regularly or having repeated troubling dreams or nightmares?
  • Are they wetting the bed at an age older than other children?
  • Are they crying frequently?
  • Are they clingy, whiny, or not settled?
  • Are they struggling with remembering things?
  • Are they not able to make a decision for themselves or showing other signs of low self-esteem?
  • Do they have trouble demonstrating empathy for others?


There are many risk factors associated with whether or not a child might have more challenges in their mental health. According to research done on 100,000 individuals by Kaiser-Permanente, traumatic experiences like the divorce of parents, loss of a close loved one, serious illness, abuse/neglect, an unexpected move, and/or violence (in or out of the home) can cause reduce life expectancy. Healthcare provider, Sunshine Health, found that 25% of children in the U.S. experience at least one form of trauma before the age of 16.

With all this in mind, what can you as a parent or caregiver do if you believe your child’s mental health is struggling?

1. Take a breath.
2. Know that there are always reasons for behaviors. Try to find the root of the behavior rather than simply addressing it.
3. Have difficult talks with your children – about race, sex, careers, hygiene, relationships. Even if you don’t have all the answers, when they know you care they will be more willing to open up.
4. Ask your kids to rate how they feel on a scale of 1-10. This is an excellent indicator of how serious something might be.
5. Learn. Search the Bible for scriptures about fear, anxiety, depression, lack of self-control, etc. Read books, take parenting classes or watch videos produced by faith-based clinical professionals. Participating in 4KIDS’ free EPIC Training may be a good place to start.
6. Develop a hedge of witnesses around your family. Who can you surround your children with who will continue to represent you as your child is away from you?
7. Last but not least, consider if therapy would be a helpful tool for your child/family. Information about 4KIDS therapy can be found here.

Our hope at 4KIDS is that this information would be the start of an ongoing conversation that helps you to understand mental health and how you can help your child(ren) thrive in this area!