4 Tips For Getting Your Kid Mental Health Services
Whether you suspect a problem, or a professional makes a suggestion, you may find yourself in need of getting your kid mental health services. Mental health problems are common in kids (as well as adults), so the probability that this may be the case is much higher than many people realize. To that end, it’s important to have some real-world tips of what to do if you find yourself in this situation.
To that end, I’ve come up with 4 tips that I think are essential for trying to ensure the best care for your kid. They are:
GET THE BALL ROLLING: Once you think there is a problem, it’s important to take action. And in this case, action means finding out where to seek out help. Here you will need to use your networking skills. Ask your pediatrician – or other professionals in their office – for a recommendation. Think about other parents you might be able to ask who have been there and done that. Teachers and other school personnel may be of help. You want to find the best resource – and in this case word of mouth is much more effective than researching it online or in the phone book. Of course, you will have to sort through the pragmatics of insurance coverage once you identify potential treatment options – and that’s partly why you will need to generate a number of potential choices.
BE PATIENT: This is a big one. You will often encounter a long waiting period – sometimes 6 months is standard at a very busy clinic. This is a long time to wait. But it’s better to wait than to seek out help that is not optimal. There will be things to do during that waiting period. Especially important will be ensuring your insurance coverage, and filling out an intake packet (all the background information the treatment resource will ask).
BE THOROUGH: Let’s expand the intake packet idea a bit more. Often times the more information you can provide (there are typically a number of questionnaires about developmental history, when you first noticed the problem, what problems concern you the most, etc) helps speed up the process once you get there. Treat this like it’s part of the treatment and be as careful and complete as you can be – and be timely (send it back by the date requested). This again prevents further delays.
STICK WITH IT: You have to show up. Sounds obvious – but simply not showing up is one of the biggest barriers to getting kids good treatment. You don’t want to miss your first appointment after waiting 6 months for it. You want to make it your business to show up for every appointment after that. You’ll trust your provider with giving your kid good care – but they can’t do that if you don’t show up. And of course they will ask you to try things at home – some may be difficult (changing, for example, how you interact with your kid), some may take a lot of time (for example keeping a diary on your kid’s behavior each day), and some may just be boring. But you have to stick with it – it’s part of what helps kids profit from treatment.
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