It is sometimes hard to know whom to turn to when your child has mental health concerns. A good place to start is your child’s doctor or pediatrician. You can 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 need help. Some pediatricians can treat mental health issues, while others will send you to a specialist. It is important to remember that your pediatrician is trained to understand child development and to know what is normal for any given age or phase of development. However, your pediatrician may not have specific expertise in treating mental health issues. 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 medical 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 CT you can call 211. Some parents choose to get help from a mental health professional in their area that is part of their health plan. A list of these health professionals can be found by asking your health insurance carrier, or if you are a HUSKY member, through the Behavioral Health Partnership.
Other places to turn for help include your school counselor, clergy or trusted teacher. These people can often help you get 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.