Mental health is just as
important as physical health
to a child’s well-being

Parents and caregivers

Parents and caregivers are often the first to notice or think that their child might need help. This section provides general information that can be used to help navigate the complex world of child mental health.

Early care and education providers

Early care and education providers, as well as home visitors, play an important role in the lives of the young children in their care. This section was developed for early care and education providers.

Find help in Connecticut

Our evidence-based practices directory lists providers trained in some of the evidence-based practices that are available in Connecticut for children and families with behavioral needs.

Access our resource database

Find information on available behavioral health and family support services in Connecticut and learn about related initiatives contributing to children’s mental and emotional well-being.

Our main topics

We offer specific information on the following subjects:

Child Trauma
Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health
Mental Health in Schools
Best and Evidence-Based Practices

Search available resources

Find information on mental health services in Connecticut and learn about initiatives contributing to children’s behavioral health and well-being.

Frequently asked questions

As the person who cares for your child, you usually know your child better than anyone else. As your child develops and grows, they may have problems from time to time. If your child is acting unusual or seems to have a lot of distress for a long period of time (lasting 2+ weeks), it may be time to seek help. Other times include when your child is showing highly unusual behavior that is causing them or others harm. A good question to ask is, “Are my child’s problems getting in the way of their day-to-day functioning?” Also ask yourself, “Is my child having problems with eating, sleeping, concentrating, or doing their usual tasks such as social activities, school and family relationships?”

It is normal for all children to have times when they feel sad, angry, frustrated, shy or anxious – especially when facing new situations. But when your child is often distressed, cannot be soothed or comforted, is having worsening problems, or is having trouble with normal functioning at school or home, it is a good idea not to worry alone. Just like your child’s physical health, there are times when you may need professional help. Any time you are feeling overly concerned, have questions, or think that your child needs help or support, it is probably time to reach out to a qualified professional. Help is available and recovery and healing is possible!

It is sometimes hard to know whom to turn to when your child or teen has mental health concerns. If your child is currently experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call 211 (in Connecticut) or 988 (nationwide) to reach trained crisis counselors or access free mobile crisis services. You can also visit one of CT’s 4 urgent crisis centers for children and youth.

Otherwise, a good place to start is your child’s doctor or pediatrician. Talk to your child’s doctor about your worries and they can help you understand whether these concerns are a normal part of your child’s growth or whether they may need additional help. Some pediatricians can treat mental and behavioral health issues – especially common ones like ADHD, anxiety, and depression – while others may send you to a specialist. Your pediatrician is trained to understand child development and know what is typical for any given age or phase of development; however, they may not have specific expertise in treating mental health issues. Either way, your pediatrician can help assess the level of concern and then help refer you to a mental health specialist. Your pediatrician’s office should also be made aware of other types of help or treatment your child may be getting – just like when you see any other type of specialist for your child.

Many areas also have community mental health centers or child guidance clinics that provide support to children and offer a wide range of mental health services to children and families. To find a provider in Connecticut, you can call 211. Some parents choose to get help from a mental health professional or therapist in their area that is part of their health insurance network. A list of providers can be found by asking your health insurance carrier, or, if the child is a HUSKY member, through the CT Behavioral Health Partnership.

Other places to turn for help include your school counselor, trusted teacher, or clergy. These people can often help you find the support you need. However, in some cases, families may find that no one seems to have the answers, or that others seem to reduce their concerns. Remember that you can always call a mental health professional directly if you have concerns or would like a meeting. It is sometimes hard to know who to call and where to start. However, most communities have qualified mental health professionals who specialize in treating children.

Finding a mental health professional is like finding any other qualified professional to help your child. Places to start your search include:

  • The 211 Infoline (in CT, dial 2-1-1)
  • Your child’s doctor/pediatrician
  • Ask trusted friends, teachers, school counselors, and/or clergy
  • Search Google for “child therapist near me,” “child guidance clinic near me,” or similar terms to research and contact providers in your area
  • Online therapist directories, such as
  • Your health insurance company / provider
  • Connecticut Evidence-Based Practice Directory

If you have private insurance, you may need to choose a provider in your network. Your insurance company may have a list of providers to choose from. Families may also choose out-of-network providers or those who do not accept insurance (“private pay”), but will likely have to pay more for the service. HUSKY families can get services anywhere that accepts your plan. Families who do not have health insurance can often get services from public agencies or clinics. Referrals to mental health providers are usually not required, but check with your insurance carrier.

There are many things you should look for when choosing a therapist and questions you can ask to help choose the right fit. You might have to speak to several therapists before you find one that is a good match. You and your child should feel at ease with the therapist (although sometimes it takes a few sessions before children become engaged or build enough trust to open up). Whichever therapist you choose, ensure that they have experience working with children as well as experience in treating the main issue(s) your child is experiencing.

The Department of Children and Families has a program called Voluntary Services that provide mental health services for children in the state of CT.  You can also search for providers trained in several specific evidence-based practices by searching the Connecticut Evidence-Based Practices Directory.  This directory lists providers trained in some of the evidence-based practices that are available in Connecticut for children and families with behavioral needs.

Contacting a family advocacy group, such as FAVOR (in Connecticut), is also good way of getting support in your community, especially if you experience any barriers on your search or would find it helpful to talk with other parents going through the same experience.

There are many types of treatment for children who have mental health issues:

  • Individual outpatient treatment is where your child will see a counselor one or more times weekly (in an office setting or remotely) to help them with their difficulties. For younger children, it is helpful to have the child’s parent or caregiver involved in the treatment, and meeting in-person is often preferred due to challenges engaging younger kids in remote/video-based treatment.
  • Outpatient services can also be provided to groups (often peer groups) and families.
  • In-home services, such as IICAPS, are also available for treating certain conditions.
  • A growing number of schools offer school-based treatment and support for individuals and groups during or immediately following the school day.
  • Support for children and youth experiencing mental health crises is available across Connecticut. Mobile Crisis teams (call 211, 24/7!) and 4 Urgent Crisis Centers for Children provide specialized alternatives to calling 911 or visiting emergency rooms to de-escalate and stabilize immediate crises and connect them to treatment options.
  • More intensive treatments include partial hospitalization, inpatient hospitalization and residential treatment.

Parents and caregivers often say that talking to other parents is one of the most useful forms of support. Connecticut has many family advocacy and support centers where trained parents can assist you and link you to local resources. Click here to view an updated list of Family Advocacy and Support resources on our sister site, You can also consult CT’s Community Collaboratives which can link you to other resources.

Sometimes, parents may need their own mental health treatment and support. If you are struggling, getting support is one of the best things you can do for yourself AND your children! You can search for a therapist through your primary care physician, local community mental health center, insurance provider, or by searching or Google for providers in your area.