Mental Health Resources for Children

Children can struggle with mental health issues just as much as adults can. We offer children's mental health resources to help get young people through difficult times. Especially as kids head back to school while dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, child and adolescent mental health are more important than ever. Care for your child's wellbeing by seeking adolescent psychiatry and therapy.

What is mental health care?

Children's behavioral health care and mental health care is a system of doctors and caregivers who help children cope with emotions, problems, and difficult times.

There are different forms of child care for mental health. Both teens and young children can speak to a therapist to seek help in a mental health crisis or for general health and wellness. If your child is struggling with more severe mental health disorders like PTSD or disabilities like autism or ADHD, you can get them the support they need to succeed.

Why seek the advice of mental health professionals?

While you may feel like you should be able to provide all the support your children need, there's no shame in seeking professional help for your child's mental wellbeing. This is especially true for more severe mental health conditions that need targeted treatment, but it's also good for general depression or anxiety. Both have increased in children and adolescents in recent years. (Data and Statistics on Children's Mental Health, CDC) Giving your child a broader support system can help them manage their mental health better.

Mental health professionals are just that: professionals. You take your child to a pediatric doctor for their physical health. Taking them to a therapist or a psychiatrist for their mental health is equally important. Behavioral counseling can also help with issues like substance abuse or anger management. You can get a referral for a specialist from a pediatrician or take the initiative and schedule an appointment for your child through Babylon.

Mental health treatments available with Babylon

We offer a range of treatment options for mental health issues in children, including appointments with human services counselors or social workers. Our healthcare professionals can help kids deal with common stressful problems such as moving, grief, life changes, and other major events in a child's life. Book your child an appointment with a therapist for everything from substance use issues to mental health disorders and trauma. If your child struggles with a mental health condition, a psychiatrist might prescribe them medication to help manage their symptoms.

According to the CDC, "16.5% of school-aged children had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder in the United States in 2016." (Mental Health Treatment Among Children Aged 5–17 Years: United States, 2019, CDC) There's no shame in your child seeking out mental health services, just like they did.

FAQs

How can I help my child at home?

The most important thing you can do for your child is pay attention. Listen to them when they tell you what they're struggling with. You may have heard or used the term "it's just a phase" before. However, phases are just as important in a child's life as permanent personality traits.

If you're helping a child who's had a traumatic experience, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recommends helping the child feel safe by creating a reassuring environment. (Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Disasters and Other Traumatic Events: What Parents, Rescue Workers, and the Community Can Do, NIMH) You can also help them build out their support network by seeking out a doctor and encouraging friendships.

What behaviors should I discourage?

Social media can have a major negative impact on children's help. It's best to teach your child the dangers of interacting with strangers on the internet and set reasonable limits for their time on social media, especially in their younger years. Social media is an amazing tool for connecting kids and teens, but it can also be harmful without moderation. Help facilitate in-person time with your child's friends as a healthy alternative.

What are some risk factors for mental illness?

Risk factors differ by type of mental illness, but there are some basic things you can look out for.

  • A history of mental illness in your family or other mental illnesses you've had
  • Increased stress in your life, whether professional or personal
  • A sudden stressful event (such as job loss or the death of a loved one)
  • A chronic physical condition
  • Traumatic brain injury or another injury to the brain
  • Traumatic events, such as accidents, military combat, or sexual violence
  • Alcohol and/or drug use
  • Abuse or neglect in childhood
  • Relationship abuse
  • Isolation or a lack of close family or friend relationships

(Mental Illness, Mayo Clinic)

What are some barriers to seeking care for children?

Some adults discourage children from seeking treatment for mental health issues. Your child may have learned from the adults in their life that therapy is "scary" or "wrong," or that having a therapist means they're "broken." They may be resistant to getting care. You can sit down with them and explain what therapy means for them, or set a good example by seeing a therapist yourself.

Lack of access may also pose an issue, which is where Babylon comes in. With remote video calls to licensed therapists, your child can feel safe at home while they seek help.

What's the difference between a therapist and a psychiatrist?

People can go to both therapists and psychiatrists for talk-based therapy. Both can offer behavioral-based advice and coping mechanisms. However, psychiatrists have a doctorate and may also prescribe medication, if necessary. Some children go on medication for conditions such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, or depression.

What kinds of treatment options can I expect from a mental healthcare provider?

You can build your mental health care treatment plans with a therapist or psychiatrist to suit your child's needs. Your child can also have input on how their treatment goes. Many people start off with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a common form of talk therapy. It helps kids build their mental health back up and approach problems in life. Group therapy can help kids feel more supportive. You can also book an appointment for your child with a psychiatrist, where they may be given a prescription.

What are some physical symptoms of mental illness?

There are some physical symptoms that you can look out for in your kids that may point to a more serious problem. Your child may experience difficulty in getting out of bed or difficulty sleeping. Hyperventilation, shaking or trembling, sweating, and increased heart rate are symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks. Impulsive behaviors can be a sign of ADHD. Meltdowns in response to overstimulation are common to autism. You may also want to seek help for changing eating habits or severe weight loss.

How do I talk to my child about mental illness?

It can be difficult to talk to both adults and children about mental illness. To make your child feel safe, explain why you're getting them help as much as you can. Let them know you're there to support and believe them about their struggles. Talk to your child when you're calm and collected, so you can offer them the most support. And ask your child's therapist for resources and fact sheets to learn about their specific mental health conditions.

Where can I get emergency help?

If your child has told you they are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek help in an emergency room or use a helpline like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.