Severity of Children’s Emotional & Behaviour Problems

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.







Temporary impairment of well being; minor loss of functioning Hospitalisation for a minor operation


Some loss of well being, on going impairment of functioning preventing the child reaching their full potential Unresolved relationship issues: friendships, sibling rivalries


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


Mental illness or disorder child at risk and unable to function as a normal person. Repeated physical and sexual abuse from several sources