Here are some signs that might mean you need counselling. Some of these signs are fairly common; many young people will do the things on the list at some point. But when the things seem harder to cope with than they usually do or last longer than a few weeks, counselling is worth a try.
Long periods of sadness
You may seem to be sad for several days or weeks. Nothing helps you feel better. You try to have fun and do other things to distract you but nothing works. You may be tearful and not be able to stop. Young People often show sadness through their actions, so you might be getting into trouble more often than you normally would.
Living in the past
You may find yourself focussing more on the past than the present. Perhaps you can’t stop thinking about death, your parents’ divorce, or a recent difficult change etc. That is normal right after the event for a while, but not if you find it impossible to eventually move on and talk about the present.
If you have little or no interest in being with friends and want to stay alone all the time. Perhaps you have stopped being able to have fun and can’t enjoy anything you do.
If you are hurting yourself or have thoughts about hurting yourself.
Problems saying good-bye
If you find it hard to say goodbye when you leave your parent or someone you care about on a daily basis. This is a problem if it never bothered you before.
You may have a really hard time getting things done. You are often distracted. Perhaps you can’t settle on activities or jobs that you’d normally be able to do. You may not be able to follow instructions well and find it hard to concentrate.
Changes in daily habits
You may notice that you have changed what you normally do. You may have trouble getting up. Or you might not be able to get to sleep. You may have nightmares. You may eat much more or much less than before.
Feeling a sense of false responsibility or guilt
You may feel you are to blame for a parent’s divorce or a death. Or you may believe you have to take responsibility for a parent or a sibling.
You may be feeling more angry than you normally would. Perhaps you are getting into fights or taking your anger out on others or yourself.
Feeling anxious and worried
If you are worrying a lot. You may be worrying about your work or that someone you love will die. Perhaps you feel worried but you’re not sure why.
Many young people do the things above at times. If the problems start suddenly after a divorce, death, or other stressful event, you may need extra support. Getting help is important if:
• the signs are more extreme than is normal for you
• they are lasting longer than you would like them to