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.

Parents & Caregivers – Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know when to worry about my child’s mental health?

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 perio …

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Who do I turn to for help?

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 …

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How do I know if my child needs help right away?

If your child is in crisis and is at risk for hurting himself or others, you should get help right away by calling 911 or get help through the 211 Infoline and ask for emergency mobile psychiatric services (EMPS). EMPS works across the state of Connect …

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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 w …

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What are the differences between different types of therapists – psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, family therapists, nurses and counselors?

There are many types of professionals that provide mental health services to children. When choosing a therapist it is best to seek the services of a licensed mental health professional or accredited clinic or agency. Ideally, you may seek services fro …

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What questions should I ask the therapist?

The most important question to ask a therapist is about their background and if they have experience working with children, and with children who have had some of the same problems or concerns that your child is facing. Experience in working with child …

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What treatment is best for specific disorders?

The mental health field has come a long way in knowing which treatments work best for some issues and concerns, but there are often not easy answers. If your child has an ear infection, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed to target the problem. I …

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What are the differences between testing, screening, assessment and evaluation?

Testing is a generic term that can be used in different places and often means that a professional, such as a teacher, pediatrician, counselor or special education consultant wants to learn more about your child. Testing can show a child’s strengths an …

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What are the different types of treatment?

There are many types of treatments for children who have mental health issues. Individual outpatient treatment is where your child will see a counselor one or more times weekly to help them with their difficulties. For younger children it is most helpf …

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What other treatments are there?

Some parents choose faith-based support, recreational activities, native or local healers, or nutritional plans to help with their child’s mental health concerns. Parents must find out whether these treatments have worked in the past and if they are sa …

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What if my child needs medication?

Depending on the type, how serious and how long your child has had the symptoms, your pediatrician or child psychiatrist may prescribe medication for your child. Often, medication is prescribed with some type of behavioral treatment, such as counseling …

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Will the medications change my child’s personality?

Typically, no. Medications will not usually significantly change personality, but should affect your child’s symptoms. This is a common concern for parents because giving your child any medication is always a concern. Psychotropic medications (drugs us …

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What are common side effects of specific medications?

Side effects differ with each medication. Common side effects include symptoms such as drowsiness and changes in appetite. It is best to ask your doctor and/or the pharmacist about the possible side effects for any medications your child is taking.

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Is the medication dangerous?

Medications that have been approved for use for children must go through an intense review by the Federal Drug Association (FDA). All medications have risks and it is important to discuss these with your prescribing physician and/or pharmacist before t …

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Is the medication expensive?

Medications differ in price and in some cases can be expensive. Most common psychiatric medications are paid for by insurance plans and HUSKY. If your family is getting HUSKY/Medicaid coverage in CT, ask the Behavioral Health Partnership (BHP) if the m …

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Will my child take medication forever?

It is not likely that your child will take medications forever. How serious and what type of diagnosis your child has will affect how long your child will need his/her medications. The prescribing clinician should assess your child on an ongoing basis …

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Are my child’s problems caused by something I did?

It is a common feeling for parents to blame themselves for their children’s issues. Children’s mental health issues are a result of many different things including biological (genes), environmental, family, and individual factors. It is helpful for par …

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How does my child’s gender impact mental health issues?

Both boys and girls can have mental health concerns and sometimes these issues show themselves in different ways. The way in which mental health issues develop depend on many things, but the child’s gender can have a role. Because boys and girls are of …

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What will other people think if they find out my child has a mental health issue?

It is common for people to worry about what others think and have concerns about the stigma (shame) of mental health issues. Stigma can sometimes get in the way of enabling your child to get the treatment he/she needs. Different cultures have different …

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Does this mean my child will have a lifelong problem?

Like other health problems your child may face, many mental health problems take care of themselves with time and the right treatment. It is important to get treatment for your child when problems first happen to help stop them from getting more seriou …

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How will mental health problems affect my child in school?

How your child acts at school may or may not be affected by his/her mental health issue. It depends upon the type of issue. Many times, it is helpful to talk with your child’s school counselor or social worker (or other school-based mental health staff …

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How do I get support for myself?

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. A link to these se …

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How do I talk to my child about this?

It is important for parents to be honest and use words your children can understand. A good place to start is by asking your child to talk about what is worrying them or bothering them. It is important to create a safe place where your child can talk w …

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How do I talk to the rest of the family about my child’s issues?

If you talk to your child’s brothers and sisters, use words that are right for their age and that they can understand. Be careful not to burden your other children with too much information, but respect their questions and concerns. In some cases, sibl …

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What is the difference between evidence-based, best and promising practices in mental health?

Over the past 20 years we have learned a great deal more about which services work best for children who have mental health issues. Services that have been found to work very well for children and have research supporting them are called “evidence-base …

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April is World Autism Month

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a general term for disorders of brain development characterized by a range of symptoms. ASD is characterized by many different symptoms, the most common being difficulties with social interaction, difficulties with verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. The degrees to which a child on the spectrum will experience each difficulty can vary greatly. There are no medical tests to diagnose Autism. Instead, physicians and psychologists administer behavioral evaluations. Treatments can include both behavioral treatments and medicines, with professional teams working closely with the child and their family. Recognizing the early signs of Autism can lead to earlier intervention, resulting in better outcomes. To access resources related to Autism, please click here. You can also visit www.kidsmentalhealthinfo.com and search for “Autism” in our resources database.