• Catherine Larson, MD

5 Articles You Need to Read Before Starting Mental Health Care


People frequently ask me questions about starting mental health care for their child. They want to know when to look for support for their child, where to find treatment and what treatment will look like. Sometimes the unknowns become an obstacle in getting kids the care they need. Worrying about your child's mental health can cause enough stress, the process of getting help should not add to it. In the coming weeks, I will be giving you articles to help you navigate this process. These articles will help to reduce the stress of starting the process and get your family on the path to recovery.




The 5 articles you should read:


1. When to seek help for your child – You may feel concerned about your child, but sometimes its hard to know if what they are going through is a normal part of development or something that needs to be addressed. This article gives some concrete examples of signs to look for when deciding when and if you should seek care.


2. Psychologist vs Psychiatrist – If you decide you want to get help for your child where do you start? Medications? Therapy? Both? Who should you go to for evaluation? There are lots of confusing words and terminology that may feel intimidating: cognitive behavioral therapy, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and so many others. We will discuss the differences in training and approach to help you decide where to start for your child.


3. Choosing a Psychiatrist – If you decide that evaluation with a psychiatrist is the best step for your child, then comes the all important question: “How do I decide who to see?” Many times people get stuck at this point. This article will help you go through the steps to narrow down the best options for you and select the psychiatrist that is the best fit for your child and your family.


4. Things to Consider Before your first Appointment – Once you have scheduled your appointment, you have taken the most difficult step. As you prepare for the appointment there are things to consider before you meet your doctor for the first time. Reviewing past history, talking with family members and gathering medical information can all help to make your first appointment as smooth and productive as possible. This article will review tips to help you prepare.


5. What is a child psychiatric evaluation? - I previously wrote an article explaining the process of a psychiatric evaluation. I have gotten great feedback on this article from parents who felt it helped to know what to expect at the first appointment. I have included it here to complete the series and help you know what to expect when you first bring your child for treatment.



My hope is that these five articles will bring you from feeling confused and overwhelmed with the process to a place of confidence. Leave a comment and let me know what other factors cause uncertainty that you would want to know before starting treatment.

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