Topic(s)
Parents
Therapy

How To Get Mental Health Help For Your Child

By Diversity in Health Training Institute

Raising a child is hard. Children’s behaviors change a lot. Their emotions also change, and many mental health problems begin in childhood. For example, anxiety disorders, ADHD, depression , eating disorders, and PTSD can happen in childhood. If we do not take care of them early on, they become mental health problems. They can affect children’s physical health too.

When to Look for Help

Children’s emotions change at every stage of their growth. Many of these changes are normal, but some are not. Ask for professional help when your child:

  • is always angry or frustrated
  • talks a lot about fears or worries 
  • sleeps too much
  • does not sleep enough
  • has frequent nightmares
  • does not want to play with other children
  • does not eat well
  • is not interested in making friends
  • fails at school
  • does not show interest in activities they enjoyed before
  • hears or sees things that other people cannot hear or see
  • hurts themselves or other children

These examples do not always mean that your child has a mental health problem, but these are good signs to look for.

If you think your child needs professional support, ask for help. If your child’s behavior is not safe or if your child talks about wanting to hurt themselves or someone else, seek help immediately .

How to Get Mental Health Help for Your Child

If you are worried about your child’s mental health, you can speak with their doctor. They can support you with medical advice. They can also connect you with a mental health professional who works with children.

Good news is that you can find a low-cost provider at www.allynetwork.org by searching on this site. You can also call SAMHSA, the Substance and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline, at 1-800-662-4357.

It is important to look for a provider with training and experience treating children.

If you do not have medical insurance, you can talk to your child’s school. Most schools have a school counselor and/or social worker who can help you. The school counselor can help children by providing individual or group therapy. A school social worker can provide therapy as well, but can also connect the child and family with mental health resources in the community.

When you meet with a provider, you can interview them about their treatment.  Read our article “How to Interview a Therapist” to know what to ask. You can also read more where to begin here.