World Mental Health Day takes place on October 10 and comes at a time when mental health is reaching a breaking point, says Virginia Tech child psychology expert Rosanna Breaux.

“We need to start thinking about mental health just like we do physical health - everyone experiences it and preventative care is critical. We shouldn't wait until we are experiencing a serious mental health issue to seek help, we can build skills to cope with the worries and stressors of everyday life while mental health issues are manageable,” says Rosanna Breaux, director of the Child Study Center and an assistant professor with the Virginia Tech Department of Psychology.

“It is critical that we raise awareness about the significant mental health issues experienced by children, adolescents, and adults and help reduce stigma around mental health issues and seeking treatment,” says Breaux.

Breaux says it’s important to look for signs of someone who is struggling with their mental health, including a change from baseline behavior for the individual. Other common signs  include: 

Significant changes in behavior or mood. For example, increases of temper tantrums in children, or a generally happy adult seeming more mellow, sad, or irritable. 

  • Difficulty concentrating. 

  • Withdrawing from social activities or things they typically enjoy.

  • Changes in sleep or appetite. 

  • Increases or decreases in performance at school, work, or daily life. For children, this can be starting to fail classes and for adults this can be repeatedly not showing up or showing up late for work.”

About Breaux

Rosanna Breaux is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and director of the Child Study Center, both part of the Virginia Tech College of Science. Her research focuses on the emotional, academic, and social functioning of children and adolescents, particularly those with ADHD.

For more information and resources on mental health, visit:

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By Katie Ariganello