Mental health conditions and disorders don't only affect adults. Children and teens can experience mental health problems too. In fact, research has now shown that most mental disorders follow a developmental course that typically starts early in life. This is true not only of conditions such as autism and ADHD, which are well known for having onset in childhood, but also for mood, anxiety, and psychotic disorders. So, many people who suffer from depression, social phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia showed signs before they were 24 years old.
Like adults, children and teens can sometimes experience intense emotions as they get older or go through stressful or traumatic events in their lives. For example, it is common for children to feel anxious about school or friendships, or for teens to have short periods of depression after a death in the family.
Mental disorders are different. They can cause ongoing, severe symptoms that affect how a child feels, thinks, acts, and handles daily activities, such as going to school, sleeping, or eating. It is important to know the signs and seek help if needed.