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

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

How do I find a mental health professional?

If you have private insurance, you may need to choose a provider in your network. Families may also choose out of network providers but may have to pay some costs of the service. HUSKY families can get services anywhere that takes your plan. Families who do not have health insurance can often get services from public agencies or clinics.

Finding a mental health professional is like finding any other qualified professional to help your child. If you live in Connecticut there are many resources, such as Help Me Grow or the 211 Infoline that you can use to help find the right referral for your child. If you were searching for an orthodontist you might start with your dentist or ask friends whose kids had to get braces. For mental health concerns, a good place to start is by asking your child’s regular doctor or pediatrician for a referral. You can also ask trusted friends, teachers, school counselors or your clergy. Sometimes you might need to use the phone book and call some providers in your community. Clinics, agencies or practices that specialize in working with children and families are usually a good place to start. There are many questions you can ask to help make your decision and things you should look for when choosing a therapist. 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. It is important to know that the therapist you choose has experience working with children as well as experience in treating the main issues that concern your child.

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 need to fill out an application first. DCF also has a list of mental health resources in your area. Contacting a family advocacy group, such as FAVOR, is good way of getting help in your community.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Nearly 44 million American adults, and millions of children, experience mental health conditions each year, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress. During the month of May, many organizations will highlight the importance of mental health and conduct events related to treatment and support. In Connecticut, the National Alliance on Mental Illness is a great local resource. http://www.namict.org/ Also, you can search our resource database for help by clicking here.  You can also search for a CT Provider trained in certain evidence-based practices by clicking here.