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Children's Emotional, Behaviour and Mental Health Problems - Severity Guidelines

In order to judge the severity of a child's emotional, behaviour or mental health problems use the following guidelines. If you feel that the problem(s) is more severe than 'slight' consult a mental health professional, doctor or qualified play therapist as soon as possible. You might also use the Goodmans Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) see www.sdqinfo.com in consultation with a PTI Certified Play Therapist.

Degree Impact Examples
Slight Temporary impairment of well being; minor loss of functioning Hospitalisation for a minor operation causing mental distress; loss of a pet
Mild Some loss of well being, on going impairment of functioning preventing the child reaching their full potential Unresolved relationship issues: friendships, sibling rivalries
Moderate Child feels emotionally unwell, considerable impairment of functioning, problems need to be dealt with promptly to prevent further deterioration. Stress and trauma eg parents are in the process of divorcing and the family is injured in a road accident Severe Mental illness or disorder child at risk and unable to function as a normal person. Repeated physical and sexual abuse from several sources

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