Expert shares warning signs for parents that their child needs help

PHOENIX - After a Florence teen was found with a book with names of people he hoped would be hurt, one Valley expert explains how parents can tell their child may be in trouble.

Julie Rosen is Executive Director of Parenting Arizona, a group that offers parenting classes throughout the Valley.

She says it can be tough for parents to admit their child has a problem.

"I feel parents feel as if they can do it on their own," said Rosen.

But they don't have to. And that's the message she's hoping to drive home.

"We need to really encourage people to not be afraid to ask," Rosen said.

She added that warning signs could include a drastic change in behavior.

"Dramatic changes in the regular routine. Sleeping, eating, those types of things indicate the depression," Rosen said.

Another sign is a change in eating habits.

"Perhaps the child isn't eating at all. Perhaps she's gorging, or he's gorging or she's gorging herself with food," Rosen said.

And any statements that seem out of the ordinary.

"Making comments like 'this world would be better without me, you don't need me, your life would be better if I wasn't here,'" said Rosen.

If you see these signs, she suggests following several steps.

"The first thing they should do is talk to their child. If that doesn't work, then I would say go to the school, talk to the teachers, see what's happening. Talk to your kid's friends, talk to your normal natural supports," said Rosen.

Rosen also suggests contacting crisis prevention lines and depending on the situation, a counselor may come to the home or at least direct the family in the right direction.

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