How to know when to get help for your child

The medical field, including the mental health field, typically addresses curative problems as opposed to preventative. Curative refers to problems only after they have reached a diagnosable clinical level. Oftentimes, people wait for their problems to reach the clinic/curative level before coming in for treatment. This can result in longer, more intensive and expensive treatment. What can you look out for when it comes to knowing when to come in?

  1. Has your child’s problem become too frequent (i.e., more than 2x a week)?
  2. Has your child’s problem become severe (i.e., even if not occurring frequently, when it comes, does it come with a very high intensity)?
  3. Do you find your child’s self-report is inconsistent with the school’s report?
  4. Does your child ask for outside help?
  5. Pay attention to your parental intuition. Clinical psychologists/mental health providers may be the experts in anxiety, depression and behavior, but you are the expert in your child. If your alarms go off (even in the slightest bit), it’s time to pay attention now, and not wait until the alarm is glaring.
  6. Has school mentioned more than 1x that your child demonstrates anxious, depressed or behavioral problems?
  7. Has school asked for a meeting with you about your child’s behavior or anxiety/depression?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, it may be time to seek professional help. Remember that if you get help sooner rather than later you can reduce expense, duration, and intensity of treatment.