These checklists for health are intended for alerting the general public regarding early and symptoms and signs of mental health issues and conditions that could well warrant professional treatment for our most vulnerable and often neglected populations like the elderly, the homeless or the near-homeless, teenagers, school-aged children, or even preschool children. Available in both Spanish and English, the flyers are available in non-profit agencies, clinics, and schools.
In the midst of our busy lives, it is easy to forget to “check in” with ourselves and take stock of our physical and emotional well-being, and the essential elements that characterize a healthy, satisfying life. Throughout our lives, our needs change, whether the result of natural transitions or sudden situations beyond our control.
Ironically, many of us, especially caretakers, parents, and professionals, are so focused on meeting our responsibilities in caring for others that we neglect our own needs.
Here are some important questions to consider:
Do you feel good about yourself and where you are in your life?
Does your life feel unmanageable at times? Would you like to feel more in control?
Do you experience feelings of isolation, loneliness or hopelessness? Do you spend a lot of time alone?
Do you have important relationships that give you the support you want? Do you have the friends you want to have?
Are you concerned about your drug or alcohol use or that of someone close to you?
Do you feel you need help to set clear personal boundaries?
Are you handling the stress in your life? Are you sleeping and/or eating adequately?
Are you feeling sad, depressed and/or anxious?
If your answers to these questions are not what you’d like them to be, you might find it helpful to talk with a trusted adult — a family member, a close friend, religious advisor, or a therapist. Often simply acknowledging a problem or concern is the best way to begin to address it.
For Young Adults
Are you concerned about your ability to succeed in school, sports, or other areas of your life? Do you feel that how you look defines who you are? Do you think“I’m thin and good,” or “I’m gross and bad?”
Do you avoid activities or relationships because of concerns about your appearance? Have you changed your activities or relationships because of these concerns?
Do you have habits that you are concerned about?
Do you get along with your parents and other family members? Can you talk with them about your feelings and what’s important to you?
Do you receive the love and support you want? Do you feel you have more responsibilities than you can handle? Do you feel responsible for the well-being of others? Do you have special activities you enjoy? Do you make time for them? Are there changes you would like to make in your life?
Here are some questions you might want to answer for yourself about how things are going in your life. If you have concerns about any of these, be sure to talk with a trusted adult — your mom or dad, a teacher, school counselor, or others. Sharing your concerns can be a big relief! Do you take pleasure in what you do well? Do you have the friends you want to have? Do you feel lonely, unhappy, or irritable? Has there been a big change in your school involvement or grades?
For Children- A Questionnaire for Parents
A child’s behavior can give parents valuable information about his or her emotional health and ability to cope with the everyday stresses of childhood. All children are experiencing periods of upset occasionally. Behaviors as listed below could well be simply signs of normal transition and growth, but they could also early symptoms of a problem that could well benefit from timely professional help.
- temper tantrums
- bed wetting
- poor appetite
- thumb sucking
- grinding teeth
- speech problems
- inappropriate expression of anger
- impatience with self
- avoids direct eye contact
- feels disliked by teacher
- feels disliked by peers
- negative self-talk (“I can’t do it”)
- school behavior needs improvement
- academic performance needs improvement
- problematic family relations
- problematic childcare situation
- a recent or unresolved loss
- overly aggressive
- poor communication skills
- low self-esteem
- overly competitive
- excessive crying
- poor physical health
- poor personal hygiene
- excessive TV watching
- excessive craving for sweets
If these or other behaviors cause you concern, don’t hesitate to ask your child’s pediatrician, school teacher, or school psychologist about these or any general parenting questions. Remember that early attention can often prevent problems from becoming worse. Often an initial consultation with a counselor is all that is needed.