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Tips to Best Help Your Child With a Mental Health Condition

A Mother Hugs Her Sad Daughter on the Couch at Home.

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If your child has been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, know you’re not alone. Mental health struggles are very common among children. Our Pediatric Mental Health Medical Director and Pediatric Psychiatrist, Lalit Chaube, MD, offers tips on how to best help your child cope with a mental health condition. We know you’re doing your best with a tough situation, and we’re here to help.

Tip #1: Act, and Don’t Ignore Mental Health Conditions

Mental illness in children is not uncommon. There are many kids who have mental health issues, but many people might not be aware of it because it isn’t talked about enough. We’re here to change that and remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues so children can get the help they need.

According to Dr. Chaube, “Ignoring mental health symptoms only makes the problem worse. Whenever it’s necessary, seek appropriate intervention, whether that means calling a family meeting, talking to a counselor or inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. Never ignore your child’s need for help.”

A good place to start is looking through your insurance plan and calling your in-network providers as you might be able to get an appointment much sooner. You can also go to the hospital, and they'll connect you to helpful resources.

“When it comes to your child and their well-being, never give up and do whatever needs to be done to keep them safe and healthy as long as it’s legal and ethical,” says Dr. Chaube.

Don’t hesitate to go to your nearest emergency room if you feel there is an imminent safety issue. You can call a mobile crisis team by dialing 211 or Call407-839-HELP (4357).

Tip #2: Don’t Ignore Your Gut Feeling

As parents, those gut feelings about our kids are important. Don't ignore them. If something isn't right, take action and never assume things will improve on their own without intervention.

Dr. Chaube reinforces the importance of listening to our intuition: “As parents, we instinctively know when something is off with our kids versus when they’re OK. If you notice any drastic changes in mood or behavior, these might be signs that you need to get an evaluation or make an appointment with their doctor. If there is danger involved, don’t wait to get your child to the hospital immediately.”

Tip #3: Evaluate Your Child and Their Progress

“If your child is already in treatment and not getting the desired results, or they seem to be stuck or backsliding, then something needs to be added to push their progress forward. If your child is showing gradual improvement, you’re on the right track,” says Dr. Chaube.

An important way to measure your child’s progress is simply asking them how they’re doing with simple interactions that show you care, like, “How was your day? What happened?” Be sure to talk every day and be that open channel for communication. That’s how you can figure out what’s wrong and how to help. And your child will know you will always be there for them, which makes all the difference.

Your Trusted Pediatric Mental Health Resource

Along with you, you can trust us to be another safe place for your child to heal from any mental health condition that may be decreasing their childlike joy. Learn more about our pediatric mental health care at AdventHealth for Children.

Crisis Resources:

In a medical emergency, call 911, or go to your nearest ER.

Central Florida: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (available 24/7)

English and Español

988, or Call1-888-628-9454

Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Brevard Counties Crisis Hotline

Dial 211

24-HOUR Crisis Line: The Centers

Orlando Lifeline of Central Florida: Call407-425-2624

If you do not feel comfortable speaking to someone, and would rather text, utilize these numbers:

Text “CONNECT” to 85511

Crisis Text Line: Text 741741 (messaging fees waived for most major carriers)

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