When your child is struggling with mental or emotional health issues, getting them out the door in the morning can be tough on you both. Fear, depression and social anxiety are just a few of the issues that can make it difficult for a child to feel comfortable going to school. Leaving the comfort of home can also be hard for children who are processing traumatic life events or working through gender identity issues.

As a parent, you may worry about the challenges your child is coping with during the school day and question whether it’s better for them to stay home or go to school. But missing school can end up reinforcing anxiety rather than making it better. Getting help from a qualified professional and developing relationships with your child’s teachers and school counselors are your family’s best bet when addressing a mental or emotional health challenge.

It can be hard to understand or know how to counsel a child who is dealing with these struggles. The resources below can help you find good medical care and emotional support so that you don’t have to go at it alone.

  • KidsHealth Emotions & Behaviors

    Is your child dealing with a temporary phase or a serious problem? This site offers perspective and advice on dealing with everything from toddler temper tantrums to teen depression.

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

    NAMI is a nationwide organization that offers resources and support—including an anonymous, free help line—to people who struggle with mental illness and their families.

  • Mental Health America

    MHA’s comprehensive database can help you find the appropriate mental health professional for your needs, whether you’re looking for a family counselor, child psychiatrist or a group therapist.

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

    SAMSHA maintains a roster of local treatment providers and offers 24-hour mental health support, including medical referrals, disaster relief and suicide prevention.

When Your Child Refuses to Go to School

Anxiety disorders, traumatic life events and even normal transitions can cause students to want to avoid school. As a parent, you are your child’s advocate and safety net. Talking to your child about their feelings and helping them learn to manage their emotions can help relieve their anxiety. You can also help your child feel comfortable and safe at school by talking to teachers and school staff members to make sure they understand your child’s challenges. For more tips on what to do if your child refuses to go to school, check out these tips from ADAA.

More Reasons Why Kids Miss School

Overcoming Absenteeism

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