Warning Signs

Young children are less likely to get mental health treatment than adolescents or adults. This is because many times, kids are expected to “grow out” of their emotional problems. Instead, parents and caregivers should respond to the warning signs that a child’s emotional health may be at risk. Here are some of the signs:


  • Resists holding
  • Is difficult to comfort
  • Has problems sleeping or eating
  • Rarely seeks or makes eye contact


  • Lacks interest in other people or playthings
  • Has extreme and frequent tantrums
  • Shows little preference for any one person
  • Shows no fear of strangers
  • Often appears sad

Preschool/Early Elementary

  • Has behavior problems in school
  • Experiences hyperactivity far beyond peers
  • Has trouble sleeping
  • Has persistent nightmares
  • Shows unusual amounts of fear, and worries or cries often
  • Is prone to excessive anger, hatefulness, aggression
  • Shows extreme disobedience or defiance

YOU are the expert on your child!

If you feel that something isn’t right, pay attention and act early. Parents are usually the first to recognize their child has a problem with emotions or behavior.

The first step is a screening. Start with your child’s doctor and ask for an evidence-based screening or contact one of these providers in Boone County.

Boone County WIC Office
Developmental screenings are conducted every third Wednesday of the month (9-11am) and every third Tuesday of the month (5-7pm) at the WIC Office located at 1005 W. Worley Street in Columbia.

Family Health Center
(573) 214-2314
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South Providence Pediatrics (MU Healthcare)
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Tiger Pediatrics
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Parents as Teachers
PAT provides free screenings to families throughout Boone County.
Call to schedule a screening for your child:

Ashland/Southern Boone: (573) 657-2148
Centralia:  (573) 682-2014
Columbia: (573) 214-3955
Hallsville:  (573) 696-5512 ext. 631
Harrisburg: (573) 875-0290
Sturgeon: (573) 687-3519