Teens Aren’t Getting the Mental Health Care They Need


Mental Health Month
Make sure you know how to get your teen the help they need (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Research has shown that many of our teenagers simply aren’t getting the mental health services they need to treat and overcome mental health conditions that can impact the rest of their lives.  Only about 45% of teenagers with psychiatric disorders receive treatment which is a statistic we, as a community, have to change.   One of the goals of National Mental Health Month, which runs throughout the month of May, is to provide people with the tips and information they need to protect mental health as part of their overall health.

When it comes to the mental health of our teens, parents are generally the deciding factor when it comes to getting help for mental health issues.   They are the ones who reach out to seek treatment and who pursue or fail to pursue the available options for support.  One of the most common challenges parents face is finding the right mental health provider for their teenager, especially if there is no diagnosis or if the parents are reaching out for the first time.  To help parents overcome this challenge, here are some tips parents can use to find the perfect provider for their teen.

  1. Work with Your Teen

Finding the right provider can play a big part in the success of mental health treatment.  For this reason, you and your teen need to work together to identify potential providers that might be a good fit. Sit down and talk about what kind of provider they want to work with and use that as your basis to move forward.

  1. Make a List of Qualifications

While talking to your teen, brainstorm the kind of qualifications you need to look for in a provider.  These can include gender, age, specialty, experience, etc.

  1. Ask for Recommendations

You can ask friends and family for recommendations if you feel comfortable discussing the situation with others.  You can also talk to the guidance counselor at your child’s school or their pediatrician to get other recommendations.

  1. Make a List

Come up with a list of potential providers and then call your insurance company.  Verify that all the people on your list are covered by the plan.  Once you have confirmed coverage, take some time to look them up online and do some research.

  1. Pick One to Start With

You may have more than one provider on your list after completing your research.  That’s okay.  Just pick the one that seems like the best fit and schedule an initial session.  Keep the list of alternative providers as a backup in case the provider you picked isn’t available of proves to be less than an ideal fit for your teen.

Taking the time to pick providers that are well suited to your teenager is very important.  While many teens are open to the idea of mental health treatment, you may only have one good shot and if they end up with an ill-suited provider, it can be difficult to get them to try again with someone else.


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