Kids can have mental health issues just as often as adults. Kids can experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Due to the pandemic, more American children are experiencing mental health issues. Mental illnesses in children can interfere with their ability to function at home, at school, and in social situations, and ultimately, keep them from realizing their full potential and being productive members of society.
A pediatrician’s training in treating mental health issues typically includes a focus on developmental and behavioral problems, as well as common childhood psychiatric disorders. The goal is to identify and treat these conditions early on before they cause significant impairment or distress and jeopardize your child’s future.
Mental Health Services From a Pediatrician
Below are some of the ways in which a pediatrician can help with your child’s mental health:
- Screen for mental health issues during well-child visits, identify warning signs of mental disorders, and provide customized counseling services.
- Refer other mental health specialists for highly specialized treatment in severe cases.
- Provide you with information and support on how to enhance your child’s mental health.
- Work and regularly communicate with your child’s teachers and caregivers to help understand your child’s unique needs, as mental illnesses can make going to school more difficult.
- Provide direct care for mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, eating disorders, substance abuse, and more, by using medications and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or talk therapy.
Pediatrician services for mental health issues can help kids develop healthy coping mechanisms and learn how to manage their emotions better. In the case of ADHD, a pediatrician can ensure your child actively receives treatment for it and reaches stabilization, and eventually, a maintenance phase.
Signs Your Kid Is Having Mental Health Issues
Pay attention to the signs of poor mental health:
- Being withdrawn and isolated from friends and family.
- A sudden change in mood or behavior.
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or helplessness.
- Engaging in self-harmful behaviors, such as cutting, not eating, or overeating.
- Turning to drugs or alcohol to cope with their emotions.
- A drastic change in weight or appearance.
- Suffering from insomnia or oversleeping.
- Have lost interest in activities they used to enjoy.
- Having thoughts about death or suicide.
If you’re concerned about your child’s mental health, take the first step and make an appointment with a pediatrician. During the appointment, the pediatrician will ask questions about your child’s mood, behavior, and any concerns you may have. They may also recommend some tests to assess your child’s mental health.
Experienced Pediatricians in Purchase, NY
The board-certified pediatricians at BridgeSpan Medicine are adolescent medicine specialists and have the training and experience needed to expertly treat your child’s mental health issues. We offer highly individualized treatment plans for our patients, which include counseling services and guidance on self-care, managing stress, conflict resolution, and building a strong support system.
Children are going through a transitional stage, and our pediatricians will make sure to get them the medical treatment and compassionate support they need. Our clinic is a non-judgmental space, where we treat children with great care and respect.